SUR LE WEB
Our guide to websites that can help you broaden your knowledge of France
Gardening enthusiasts will have a field day on Les Plus Beaux Jardins de France (lesplusbeauxjardinsdefrance.com). Take a virtual step through the gates of impressive manors such as the Château de Chambord or the Domaine de Chantilly and appreciate the floral splendour of their meticulously maintained grounds. In total, 14 gardens are a member of the scheme, each with their own section on the website. The gardens are selected against a strict criteria: they have to be very well-known and open to lots of people; recommended by all the major guidebooks; perfectly maintained by professional gardeners; open every day between Easter and Toussaint; finally, they should offer an excellent welcome. Each garden is accompanied by a mini guide, including a historical background, to help you plan your trip. In some cases there are even videos of the gardens so you can explore from the comfort of your home. There is also a useful section on styles of gardens in France, so keen gardeners can recreate their favourite styles at home. You’ll recognise the Jardin à la Française, with intricate hedges and topiary, but you might not have seen a bambouseraie –a bamboo garden – before.