Giverny: Visit the gardens at Giverny where Claude Monet lived and painted. We all know his series of water lilies. Here was his inspiration.
I visited the gardens in June, when the flower beds were overflowing with iris, daisies, and the roses were blooming. The arbors around the house were dripping with wisteria. Across the road the ponds were filled with blooming lilies. How did Monet ever find the time to paint when surrounded by all of this!
Versailles: For very different gardens, visit the formal French gardens at Versailles. These gardens are the complete opposite of the rambling, overflowing seasonal flower beds at Giverny. These formal French gardens were begun in 1661 when Louis XIV hired Andre Le Notre to design his gardens. The initial project took over 40 years and has been ongoing ever since. Today the gardens at Versailles are a UNESCO World Heritage site where you can enjoy the Grand Canal, the parterres with sculptures and fountains located throughout the garden and forest areas. This is just one of many fountains looking toward the Grand Canal. Not a bad view from the back porch!
For your virtual visit to the gardens at Versailles check these:
Or go to the Chateau's own website directly for more information and another video of the gardens: en.chateauversailles.fr
I've visited Versailles in the Spring, in the Summer when it's overflowing with visitors and tourists, and in Winter when you have them mostly to yourself. It's beautiful and grand in any season. In the warm weather, generally April - November, be sure to check the schedule for the times when the fountains "perform their musical fountain shows. There are also evening "performances."
And finally, how could we leave this one out? Do you know where it is?