The 10 most beautiful parks and gardens
What will you go for? English style or French? Country landscapes or exotic gardens? In Brittany we have a huge range of parks and gardens. This is a land of mariners and travellers; they’ve brought back species from the four corners of the globe. This wealth of varieties is also due to the temperate climate and the soils that are especially suitable for acclimatising exotic species. Come and wake up your senses and get away from it all in...
What will you go for? English style or French? Country landscapes or exotic gardens? In Brittany we have a huge range of parks and gardens. This is a land of mariners and travellers; they’ve brought back species from the four corners of the globe. This wealth of varieties is also due to the temperate climate and the soils that are especially suitable for acclimatising exotic species. Come and wake up your senses and get away from it all in Brittany’s ten most beautiful gardens.
The Georges Delaselle Garden, a small exotic world
On the Isle of Batz, the Georges Delasselle Garden takes you around the world. This garden was laid out in 1897 by Georges Delaselle, a Parisian businessman with a passion for exotic species that he planted over a period of 40 years. It gives pride of place to summer-flowering plants that remind you of faraway places. There are 2,000 species, representing all the continents, with plants from California, Australia, Chile or South Africa growing side by side with natives of other foreign lands. It’s definitely a change of scene!
Find out more: Jardin Georges Delaselle
La Roche Jagu estate, outstanding views
In the heart of Le Trégor province, the 15th-century Château de la Roche-Jagu and its medieval-style estate offer outstanding views over the Trieux estuary. As you stroll through the grounds you’ll come across a wide range of different landscapes: medieval gardens, a palm grove, an avenue of camellias, lakes and retting ponds and salt meadows… not forgetting the horse pond and the pergola pathway with its sweet scents of roses, honeysuckle and wisteria. This 74-hectare estate can be explored on foot without booking ahead. Entrance is free and it’s open all year round.
Find out more: Domaine départemental de La Roche-Jagu
The Brest National Botanical Conservatory, a world-tour of endangered plants
In the heart of the Stang-Alar valley, just a short walk from the town centre, the Brest National Botanical Conservatory has been working to protect threatened plant species for 40 years. As you pass through its garden or tropical glass-houses, you’re taking a world tour of endangered plant species: heathers, bamboos, sequoias, eucalyptus, hibiscus, tree ferns and many more. From Armorica to America, from Mauritius to the Canaries, this centre of science and relaxation tells the story and displays the fragile beauty of the plant kingdom throughout the seasons.
Find out more: Conservatoire botanique national de Brest
The Cornouaille Botanical Park, an English symphony
The Cornouaille Botanical Park, located between Bénodet and Pont-L’Abbé, boasts a collection of 4,000 plants from all over the world, a water-garden, an exotic garden and a museum of minerals. Through the months and along the avenues, you can explore the meanderings of this park in the English style, where curves are everywhere. Camellias, rhododendrons, magnolias, maples, hydrangeas and water-lilies mingle and complement each other in a symphonic arrangement of form, colour and scent.
Find out more: Parc Botanique de Cornouaille
The Brocéliande Gardens, the most mysterious of all
At Bréal-sous-Montfort, tours of the Brocéliande Gardens happen upside down. You follow routes called Réveille tes pieds (Wake up your feet), Active tes sens (Awaken your senses), File là-haut (Climb up high) or Joue de l’eau. You go around in bare feet, with a blindfold, up the trees or with your head in the clouds, so you experience sensory adventures like never before. Feel the magic of the Sentier des korrigans (the elves’ pathway) or laugh at the inhabitants of Poul’ailleurs. If you’re in a more contemplative frame of mind, opt for an Asiatic Excursion or a stroll through the irises, roses and lilacs or the orchards filled with ancient apple varieties. In this garden with a difference, biodiversity goes hand in hand with creativity and working together.
Find out more: Jardins de Brocéliande
La Ballue Garden: the most beautiful garden for topiary art
La Ballue Garden is close to the Mont-Saint-Michel and overlooks the Couesnon valley. It draws its inspiration from Italian baroque. There’s plenty to interest visitors, including a fun labyrinthine route that passes through 13 different green enclosures. The garden is laid out geometrically, in the French style. Its topiary art, château and undulating landscape add to its harmonious beauty. Yews, privets, wisteria, box and bay shape the space into amazing volumes, perspectives and effects of light and shade. You’d think Lewis Carroll or Tim Burton had designed it. Entering this garden is like stepping into a picture.
Find out more: Château de la Ballue
The Haute Bretagne Botanical Park: the most original
Not far from Fougères, let your imagination run free in the Haute Bretagne Botanical Park. Covering 25 hectares, it has 24 poetic gardens in three groups (gardens of Arcadia, romantic gardens and twilight gardens), which will transport you down the ages and across continents. From spring to autumn, you can enjoy the many species, scents and views, and the ever-changing beauty of light and colours, from the ethereal blue of the hydrangeas to the flamboyant red of the rhododendrons. Have a family adventure tracking down a T-Rex, a ghost, the Minotaur or the weird carnivorous plants!
Find out more: Parc Botanique de Haute Bretagne
Kerdalo Garden: the most romantic
In the depths of a valley that slopes steeply down to the River Jaudy, the artist Peter Volkonski designed the 17-hectare Kerdalo Garden (today managed by his daughter and son-in-law) as a living tableau, with a strong chromatic bias and with water as the unifying principle. You’ll see ponds, cascades, a water staircase, a grotto, pavilions, bas-reliefs made of seashells and more. The soul and magic of this romantic place, crafted by nature and art, is utterly charming. Italian terraces sit side by side with English gardens and a meadow surrounds the manor house. It’s a real treasure, enriched by the presence of 5,000 local species, including many acid-loving cultivars, together with wild and exotic plants.
Find out more: Jardin de Kerdalo
The Trévarez estate park: centuries-old and contemporary too
In the centre of Finistère, overlooking the valley of the river Aulne, the domaine de Trévarez park is the vast, 85-hectare setting for the pink Belle Époque château that was the modernist dream of James de Kerjégu. Its eclecticism is remarkable: French, Italian, Japanese, romantic gardens, fountains and architectural fantasies. And the park uses the landscape and the forest to its best advantage. With centuries-old collections of camellias, rhododendrons, not to mention oak trees, maples and fuchsias, the plant life provides a spectacular feast for the eyes in every season. You can also get to know the world of the contemporary artist is invited each year to be the artist in residence at the château (in 2016, the sculptor Robert Schad) and there are lots of entertainments and activities to keep the family amused.
Find out more: Domaine de Trévarez
Daoulas Abbey: the most virtuous
Among its many treasures, Daoulas Abbey has a remarkable medicinal plant garden organised on two levels: Western Europe on one side and Oceania, Africa, America and Asia on the other. Overlooking the abbey church and the cloister, this herb garden combines medieval and Renaissance influences and forms a contrast with the romantic style of the vast grounds that surround it. From 2016 onwards, a garden containing medicinal trees has been added to complete the picture. There’s a camphor tree, a mandrake, a tea-tree and more. You can discover the medicinal, aromatic and flavouring properties of the 300 species from all over the world.
Find out more: Abbaye de Daoulas