Cultivated beauty


For garden lovers and green fingered enthusiasts, the Dordogne Valley showcases a whole range of gardens, from intricately trimmed boxwood to floral extravagances. Botanic, rose and exotic gardens thrive in the temperate climate, the smells of which are a treat for the senses.



Spread atop cliffs with sumptuous views over the Dordogne River below, the gardens of Marqueyssac are the most visited in the Périgord. The extensive boxwood, originally planted in the 19th century, are trimmed, manicured and contoured along meandering paths that lead to the 17th century château. Listed as a National Historical Monument, les Jardins de Marqueyssac are laid out along three paths and inspired by formal Italian-style gardens with symmetrical lines. The gentle stroll offers quite staggering cliff top views of the medieval castles of Castelnaud and Beynac as well as the village of La Roque- Gageac village by the river. Visitors in July and August are afforded a rare treat each Thursday evening, when 2000 candles are lit to create the most romantic of garden visits.



As their name implies, these contemporary gardens have been conjured from the creative imagination of American landscape gardener Kathryn Gustafson. 13 distinctive styles of garden are spread over six hectares of landscaped terraces that overlook the Vézère River in the historic town of Terrasson. Roses, fuchsias and thousands of trees, shrubs, water features...Garden meets art in this experience for the senses, surrounded by all manner of beautiful greenery. Theme evenings and night visits during July and August.



10 minutes from Brive, the Jardins de Colette are dedicated to and inspired by the writings of one of France’s most famous female writers. Colette was anauthor who was enthralled by gardening and wrote about her adoration of the beauty of nature. Over five hectares in size this beautiful spot also has something special for kids. A gigantic hedged maze. There is also a huge Jenga style puzzle and a game of stealth.



Located near Sarlat and Lascaux, the 10 hectares of exquisite Jardins à la Française will wow even the most casual garden enthusiast. The manicured perfection of the boxwood with over 300 sculptured examples of hedged art makes Eyrignac a topiary garden masterpiece. Handed down through 22 generations for 500 years, the trimming and shaping of plants is in the blood of the family owners. Specialised classes in the art of topiary gardening are available for those who wish to learn from the experts about these intricate pruning, trimming and hedging techniques. Amongst ornamental water fountains and ponds, these extensive gardens play host in July and August to the famous ‘White Picnics’. With a dress code of white only, this is a one of a kind garden party. Music, cocktails, dancing and illuminated water fountains combined with a spectacular sunset over the Dordogne Valley gives way to fireworks later in the evening.



The Sothys gardens are part of the sophisticated high-end range of beauty products which share the same name. The plants for the organic cosmetic line of Sothys, the Beauty Garden range, are grown here exclusively, alongside the plants for their organic herbal teas. Recognised by the ‘Jardin Remarquable’ label for its botanical importance, the Jardins Sothys are also exquisite gardens to venture in and a wonderful spot for lunch with an excellent on-site restaurant.