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If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

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Perth, Australia
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If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

Versailles in July doesn't sound appealing to me with all the crowds, but I have my heart set on seeing a beautiful French garden. Am happy to do a day trip to the Loire Valley if needed or a day trip from Paris. I have been looking at so many chateaux and gardens, it's a hard choice. My ideal day would be to just wander, have a picnic and soak it all in.

I have seen many estate gardens in the UK and finally managed visits to Van Dussen and Butchart in Canada last year. On our last visit to Paris we saw Monet's garden (a dream come true) but ran out of time for any others, next year I am planning to set aside a day. I would love your suggestions.

Queensland
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1. Re: If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

This post from a few days ago might be of some help:

tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g187147-i14-k74…

I think that in July the chateaus in the Loire Valley will probably be as busy as Versailles. I went to Chambord and Chenonceaux in October 2009 and even at this time they were really busy.

Next trip I'm hoping to get to Chantilly as well - not sure if if it know for its gardens, but still very spectacular apparently.

Edited: 29 April 2014, 02:55
Perth, Australia
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2. Re: If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

Hi Chazwazza, that was quick. Thanks for the link, I did see that but sort of didn't answer my question so that's why I thought I would post mine.

Unfortunately we can't change the time of year as we are fitting this trip in with a Baltic cruise end of July.

Chantilly is tempting as it is easy to get to and the gardens do look lovely. Very tempting, wondering how it compares to Fontainebleau?

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

The gardens of Vaux le Vicomte were by the same designer as those of later Versailles and they are the most similar if you are looking for this architectural style of garden. It is very uncrowded -- we really enjoyed spending the day there. You can see pictures from our trip on my photo journal under day trips from Paris. I highly recommend it particularly if you want to avoid the chaotic crowds at versailles.

janettravels44

www.janettravels.wordpress.com

Australia
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4. Re: If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

I am thinking of going to Chantilly too.I intend to visit the adjacent Potager des Princes there.The Rough Guide to Paris describes it as more than a kitchen garden with "fountains set amidst beds of flowers, a Japanese garden and a bamboo maze, and a luscious orchard".It was designed by Le Notre.It is featured in the DVD Monty Don's French Gardens.This is available any ABC shops in Australia or your library might have a copy.

The DVD also features Vaux le Vicomte, another Le Notre garden,not far from Paris.I visited there on a Saturday when the fountains were playing, which enhanced the garden experience.It was also an evening when the chateau was lit by candles.The exterior candle lighting during sunset was lovely.

Australia
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5. Re: If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

Villandry in the Loire is amazing.It would be more of an effort to get there but worth it.

I read a review about a day Loire tour from Tours with a company called Tour evasion.Their option #11 includes 3 hours at Villandry and also visitsAzay le Rideau, Usse and Langeais.Two other tours they offer include Only 45 minutes at Villandry! Definitely not enough!

Vancouver, Canada
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6. Re: If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

We visited both Versailles and the Loire Valley last July as part of our trip to France. We loved Versailles and spent an entire day wandering the gardens and the Hamlets and Grand and Petite Trianons. The giant lineups for security and tickets were for entering the Palace. The garden entrance had no line at all (on the right side of the palace as you approach it from the train station). But be prepared to walk. It was at least 45 minutes from the palace to the grand canal with various gardens on both sides.

We were also very lucky to spend four days in the Loire Valley based in Tours. We loved it! Villandry, Usse and Azay le Rideau are relatively close together so a day trip combining those three places is doable but would make for a long daytrip from Paris. Perhaps you could arrange a couple of nights in Tours.

But if I could choose only one, then I would choose Versailles. Note that there are days when you need to pay to enter the gardens (fountain days) and also there might be Saturday night "fountains and fireworks" shows which close the gardens in the late afternoon. (We returned for this Fireworks show which had the gardens reopen at 8pm with fireworks at 10:30 and it was a trip highlight).

chateauversailles-spectacles.fr/en/spectacle…

Edited: 29 April 2014, 05:22
New Hampshire
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7. Re: If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

There are so many magnificent gardens and parks in Paris. Tuileries, Luxembourg, Buttes Chaumont, Albert Kahn...

Here's another huge recommendation for Chantilly and Fontainebleau.

Paris, France
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8. Re: If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

Sceaux has beautiful and spacious gardens. It's an easy trip on the RER B.

…proboards.com/thread/6181/parc-de-sceaux

Perth, Australia
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9. Re: If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

Thank you, so many fabulous places- now you see my dilemma!

Chantilly combined with Potagers des Princes sounds like a nice day, like the sound of that. Great photos from Janet and Kerouac2. Too many places, not enough time! I did have Villandry on my list, tempting. I might have to squeeze an overnight inTours me thinks.

I shall do some more investigating and see what I can fit into our stay.

Paris, France
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10. Re: If not Versailles then which garden comes a close second?

Villandry probably has some of the most beautiful gardens in France, but it's a bit of a trek from Paris on a day trip. Sceaux is indeed a great suggestion from Paris. I have never quite understood why so few foreign visitors head there (which gives more relaxing visiting conditions for the wise ones who do :D).