Visit the Remarkable Gardens of the South of France
The label Jardin remarquable (Remarkable Garden) started in 2004 to celebrate and document France’s magnificent gardens. A Jardin Remarquable must meet the established criteria. The requirements include integration in the site, an interesting blend of vegetation, quality of the location, engaging use of plants and, where applicable, provide historical interest.
Meeting the Grade
The criteria ensure that the gardens maintain a certain grade, as the badge is for five years. During that period, the label can be renewed, reviewed and revoked. The gardens are a combination of public, private and protected ancient sites.
All gardens must be available for public viewing at least 40 days a year and 6 hours per day. The sites need to be open for at least one of these two annual events Rendez-vous aux Jardins (June) or European Heritage Days (September). There are currently 1540 gardens in France that have achieved the criteria. The Comité des Parcs et Jardins de France website lists the gardens by region.
Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur List (2021)
There are 49 gardens in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur that make the grade for Jardin Remarquable at the time of writing. However, there are hundreds of other beautiful gardens and parks to visit in the region.
During the Rendez-vous aux Jardins weekend in June, many private gardens are open to the public. The 2021 dates are June 4-6, 2021. Click here for more information.
We had added additional information (and links) to some of the gardens below. Make sure to check in advance for opening hours and regulations ahead of your visit.
Mane – Jardins du prieuré de Salagon
Mane – Jardins du château de Sauvan
Simiane-la-Rotonde – Jardin de l’ancienne abbaye de Valsaintes. Situated at an altitude of 600 metres, between Simiane La Rotonde and Oppedette. The original abbey dates back to 1180, with additions and restoration work since that time.
Valensole – Clos de Villeneuve
Gap – Domaine de Charance
Villar d’Arène – Jardin alpin du Lautaret
Cap d’Antibes – Jardin Botanique de la Villa Thuret. The Thuret Botanical Gardens have been a site for historical botanic research since 1857. Created by Gustave Thuret, a French botanist, to conduct acclimatization trials on various exotic plants.
Coursegoules – Vallon du Brec. The Garden du Vallon du Brec is a beautiful melting pot of intercontinental species from China, Japan, and North America. It’s located in Nice’s hinterland surrounded by 10,000 square metres of old terraces transformed into grass meadows.
Eze – the botanical garden (Jardin Exotique d’Èze) should be on everyone’s list as it is considered one of the Jardins Remarquable of France. The plants include many succulents and cacti worth seeing. However, the panoramic view is by far the highlight. The garden is open daily all year.
Grasse – Jardin de la villa Fort France. The Fort France garden dates back to 1930, when British writer Lady Fortescue and her husband, the librarian for King George VI, built it as a rose garden. The garden has grown to include olive trees, aromatic plants, perennials, and other gorgeous florae.
La Gaude – Jardin de l’Argelière
Mandelieu-la-Napoule – Parc du château de la Napoule. The Garden of the Château de La Napoule is an unmistakable garden nestled inside a medieval fortress once owned by the eccentric American art lover Henry Clews and his wife, Marie. When they discovered the fortress’s ruins in 1918, they dedicated their lives to restoring its glory.
Menton – La citronneraie. The gardens’ origins date back to the 16th century when over 200 olive trees were planted. In the 1800s, a small house constructed in the traditional “Mentonnaise style” was added to the property. Covered by beautiful pergolas of wisteria and jasmine, the house was abandoned until the 1950s when it was rebuilt, maintaining its original authenticity.
Menton – Serre de la Madone. This site began as a greenhouse, created by Lawrence Johnston, an American and British citizen who felt French. He kept the land’s original elegance, with a small Menton-style house and farm separating the agricultural area from the forest area. When you visit Serre de la Madone, you’ll find olive, fig, and peach trees, vines, arbours, and modernized cisterns throughout the property.
Menton – Jardin Botanique exotique du Val Rahmeh. This stunning garden is full of exotic plants from around the world. The dense foliage makes for a charming haven of tranquillity where you can take a gentle stroll to admire everything it has to offer.
Menton – Jardin du Palais Carnolès
Nice – Jardin Botanique. Created in 1983, The Botanical Garden offers more than 3.5 hectares to explore, populated with over 3,000 plant species. The garden also provides a breathtaking view of the mouth of the Var and the Baie des Anges.
Nice – Parc Phoenix. This urban park is a perfect destination for nature lovers, gardeners, and botanists alike. You’ll find more than 1000 species of plants, including succulents, tropical plants, aromatics, and so much more. Be sure to explore the bamboo grove, the greenhouse, and the vegetable garden!
Roure – Arboretum Marcel Kroenlein. Tucked into the mountains north of Nice, next to Roure, sits a unique arboretum. It mixes exotic trees, rare flowers, and “no-made” art in a mountain park overlooking the wild Tinel Valley—a perfect day trip for nature lovers and art enthusiasts alike.
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat – Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild. Madame Ephrussi purchased seven hectares on Cap Ferrat in 1905. Madame Ephrussi commissioned an extravagant, Italian Renaissance-style villa bearing both of her names on her parcel of land. However, it is the gardens that might have been her real passion. The grounds were designed to make the best use of a linear plot of land and maximize sea views. There are nine distinct gardens within the compound, beginning with the French garden and ending with the rose garden.
Bouches du Rhone
Aix-en-Provence – Jardin de la bastide de Romégas
Bouc Bel Air – Jardins d’Albertas. Whether fiction or not, it seems appropriate that Casanova, the infamous Venetian writer, gambler and reputed womanizer, is weaved into the history of les Jardins d’Albertas. This garden, owned by the Albertas family, is located just a few minutes outside of Aix-en-Provence in Bouc-Bel-Air, where the ancient village was built on a bouc (small hill).
Eguilles – Jardin d’Eguilles de Max Sauze
Eyrargues – Bambous en Provence
Parc du 26° Centenaire
Jardin de la Magalone
Bormes-les-Mimosas – Parc Gonzalez
Flassans-sur-Issole – Jardin de la Commanderie Peyrassol. Here’s a suggestion for an interesting art lover’s outing, about an hour’s drive from Aix-en-Provence. La Commanderie de Peyrassol is not only a successful Var vineyard producing 500,000 bottles of wine a year but is a fast-growing contemporary sculpture park.
Gassin – Jardin Germaine L’Hardy-Denonain
Parc Olbius Riquier
Parc Saint Bernard
Jardin du Castel Sainte Claire
Le Plantier de Costebelle
La Londe Les Maures – Jardin zoologique tropical
La Roquebrussanne – Jardin d’Elie Alexis
Le Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer – Domaine du Rayol. Charming Le Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer, a combination of two towns, has been an independent commune since 1949. The appeal of this location, besides the mimosas, is the natural surroundings. The city sits between the Corniche des Maures backdrop and the Mediterranean with views towards the Îles d’Or. Spend time at one of the two nearby beaches and visit the 20-hectare botanical garden at Domaine du Rayol.
La Valette du Var:
Jardin de Baudouvin
Pierrefeu du Var – Jardin de La Gravière
Six-Fours les Plages – Jardin de la maison du Cygne
Toulon – Jardin du Las
Bonnieux – Jardin de la Louve. Tucked against the rocky hillside in Bonnieux are a house and its remarkable garden — la Louve (she-wolf). The private paradise is hidden from the street and protected from the biting Mistral wind. The visionary for this Jardin Remarkable was Nicole de Vésian, a stylist at the luxury brand Hermès. De Vésian purchased the south-west facing parcel in 1986. Here she launched her retirement project, creating a unique garden an unobstructed view of the Luberon.
Cucuron – Pavillon de Galon
Lauris – Jardin blanc et conservatoire des plantes tinctoriales. Tethered to a cliff edge overlooking the Durance River and the Luberon plains, you will find a unique garden in the hilltop village of Lauris. This garden envisioned and operated by Couleur Garance is located on the 18th century Chateau de Lauris’s terraces. Jardin Conservatoire de plante tinctoriales achieved the label of Jardins Remarkable in 2011.
Pertuis – Jardin du château de Val Joanis. The garden at Chateau Val Joanis is located in the heart of the vineyard. The “project” to create an 18th-century garden was the vision of the owner Cécile Chancel. This vineyard is located on the site of an ancient Roman villa. Today, the Chateau continues to bear the coat of arms of Jean de Joanis. The Chancel family began re-establishing the vineyard and garden in 1978.
Designed with three terraces, the garden’s situation provides some protection from Mistral winds. Each tier contains specific plants in keeping with the established theme. The first level is a kitchen garden, full of herbs, vegetables and fruit trees, surrounded by lavender and box hedges. The second area contains roses and fruit trees trained on unique frames and latticework. A final section includes ornamental trees. Throughout the whole garden, small seating areas encourage visitors to enjoy their surroundings.
Puymeras – Jardin de la Basse Fontaine
Sérignan-du-Comtat – Harmas de Fabre
Sorgues – Domaine de Brantes