France, UK - England
Highlights include London’s Chelsea Flower Show, Claude Monet's house & garden, Château de Versailles, the beautifully preserved medieval town of Sarlat & the breathtaking Loire Valley, including a visit to the Festival des Jardins de Chaumont sur Loire.

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DAY 1 Tuesday May 5, 2015 Departure
Our holiday begins with a flight to Paris.

DAY 2 Wednesday May 6, 2015 Paris
This morning we arrive in Paris. After time to freshen up we enjoy a sightseeing tour with a local guide of the romantic city of Paris. Highlights include the Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Tuileries and a drive along the Champs Elysee to the Arc de Triomphe. In the afternoon we visit the Chateau de Bagatelle on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne. In addition to the noted rose garden with its climbing roses, there is a water lily pool, grotto, potager and iris garden. Those wishing to dine together can meet in the lobby where the Tour Manager will suggest good value restaurants for dinner.

DAY 3 Thursday May 7, 2015 Paris
We start today with a morning visit to Claude Monet’s famous house and beautiful garden at Giverny. This garden, with its ponds and water lilies and its Japanese bridge, appears in many of the artist’s paintings. Another section of the garden has a more formal layout, featuring espaliered apples and pears and abundant plantings of roses, irises, spring bulbs, poppies and more. It has been magnificently restored and gives a vivid impression of Monet’s inspiration. Deryn has experienced this garden in different seasons and will make sure that we get the most out of this garden. We return to Paris for an afternoon free for individual exploration. This evening we will have an included dinner, so group members can get to know each other.

DAY 4 Friday May 8, 2015 Paris
Today we travel west of Paris to visit Château de Versailles, the extraordinary palace set in the grand formal garden designed for Louis XIV. In the grounds of Versailles, we visit the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon with its romantic landscape of meandering paths, streams, rustic bridges and lake. We then visit Le Hameau, featuring rustic thatched cottages grouped around a lake surrounded by woodland. One thatched cottage has a potager of tomatoes, French beans and poppies edged in box hedges and filled with pelargoniums. This is one of Deryn’s favourite gardens and she will ensure we make the most of the romantic grounds before we return to Paris in the late afternoon.

DAY 5 Saturday May 9, 2015 Paris
This morning will be free for individual activity. In the afternoon we will visit the gorgeous rose garden – Roseraie de l’Hay-les-Roses. There are 1.7 hectares, beautifully laid out in a pattern of beds, walks, arbor’s and ornamental trellis-work. There are roses that were grown by Empress Josephine, wild roses and a collection showing the evolution of the garden rose. Deryn will share some of her titillating tales of the Empress, her tempestuous life with Napoleon and her passion for roses.

DAY 6 Sunday May 10, 2015 Blois
After breakfast, we travel to Blois, stopping along the way to visit Chateau de Vaux le Vicomte. Deryn will lead us around this Baroque garden, which was the first great work by Andre Le Notre, who went on to design Versaille’s gardens. Organised on a central axis, the gardens stretch for 3kms with elaborate parterres, ornate fountains, ponds, topiaries and statues. We continue our journey south to Blois, rich in history, and once the fife of the Counts of Blois. The Chateau de Blois, located in the town centre, was the principal royal residence until King Henry IV moved the court to Paris in 1598. The attractive, hilly, partially pedestrian quarter is enclosed by the chateau, cathedral and river.

DAY 7 Monday May 11, 2015 Blois
The morning is free for you to explore the charms of Blois. The afternoon’s treat is a visit to Chateau de Chenonceau, spanning the River Cher, which reflects its unique beauty. Two large formal gardens and extensive woodland surround this fairytale chateau. Known as the Ladies Castle, its design and charm are a result of six important women throughout its history. Two large formal gardens and extensive woodland surround this fairytale chateau.

DAY 8 Tuesday May 12, 2015 Blois
Today we travel through the Loire valley to visit the Festival des Jardins de Chaumont sur Loire. Jean Jennifer Pigeat established the festival in 1992 with the aim of introducing the public to imaginative and innovative new design. The thirty show gardens are in leaf shaped enclosures, hedged by beech or hornbeam. In the afternoon we visit the fabulous 16th-century Chateau Villandry, representing the highest standards of garden design and landscaping. The gorgeous formal garden has been terraced into three levels, displaying hedges and motifs of box, fine yew topiaries and flowers in season. The lowest level is the potager, which elevates vegetable growing to a fine art. Deryn will discuss vegetable growing in Australia and suggest ways of incorporating home grown produce in small spaces. We will return to Blois for an evening at leisure.

DAY 9 Wednesday May 13, 2015 Perigueux
Today we travel through the beautiful rolling French countryside to the Dordogne region. We will stay in Perigueux for three nights. This well preserved market town was established by the ancient Gauls and conquered by the Romans. The Vesunna Gallo-Roman Museum is highly regarded. The Tour Manager will recommend a good restaurant to soak up a little of the atmosphere of this historic town.

DAY 10 Thursday May 14, 2015 Perigueux
We travel to Sarlat la Caneda for a guided walking tour of its narrow medieval streets. Gothic and Renaissance buildings add to the ambience of this fascinating town, which grew up around the Benedictine abbey founded in the middle of the 9th century. Sarlat reached its peak during the 13th and 14th centuries. There are houses full of charm all over the town, many with attractive courtyards and the town often hosts interesting fairs and has regular markets. We will see Maison de la Boetie, one of the finest houses and Renaissance buildings of 1525. We return to Perigueux for a free afternoon for individual activity.

DAY 11 Friday May 15, 2015 Periguex
This morning we will travel east to visit the Manoir d’Eyrignac. The manor house dates from the 17th century and the elaborate formal garden, dates from the 18th century. The garden was comprehensively recreated in the 1960s with elaborate topiary and hedging frames and a sequence of rooms and passages that lead to the house. Near the house, is a stylized parterre a la Francaise with sweeping curves of clipped box and soaring Italian cypresses. In the afternoon we visit Les Jardins de Cadiot, described as an English garden with Mediterranean plants and many roses. The garden has many wonderful perennial borders planted with mainly white, purple and blue plants in beautiful combinations. Gardens are wooded by the masses of roses, clematis, delphiniums, peonies and bulbs. The group will enjoy an included dinner this evening.

DAY 12 Saturday May 16, 2015 Avignon
Today we travel south through the gorgeous French countryside to the attractive historic city of Avignon.

DAY 13 Sunday May 17, 2015 Avignon
A sightseeing tour of Avignon, with a local guide provides us with an introduction to this beautiful encircled medieval walled city with romantic narrow streets. We will see the Palace of the Popes, which was the seat of the Popes from 1309 until 1377 and the Place de l’Horloge, an attractive square shaded by plane trees which contains a theatre and Town Hall. This afternoon is free to explore Avignon.

DAY 14 Monday May 18, 2015 Avignon
This morning we travel to visit L’Alchimiste, which has successfully blended the contemporary with classical design. The garden has been divided into three distinct spaces using ancient plants and modern materials. The plants have wonderful stories associated with them, many originating from Provencal custom and have a pagan bent. We continue to visit Pont du Gard, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The aqueduct is part of a system, which brought spring water from a catchment area near Uzes to Nimes: it was built in the first century AD and in spite of its two thousand years, is in good condition.

DAY 15 Tuesday May 19, 2015 Avignon
This morning we visit Jardin de la Noria for a guided tour. Jardin de la Noria is a private garden designed by noted French designers, Arnaud Maurieres and Eric Ossart. The owners, Mr and Mrs Deparis, commissioned them to transform a hectare of level orchard in the grounds of their farmhouse, called Mas de Licon. The remains of an old noria, or water wheel determined the hub of the new garden which was influenced by the spirit of Islamic paradise gardens. The garden has an oasis-like quality with lush plantings, scented flowers, pools and rills. This is a garden that encourages visitors to wander slowly and sit to enjoy the sculptures and surrender to the delights of the sound of the water, the perfume and colour of the garden. In the afternoon, we visit the Bambouseraie, a unique bamboo forest. The garden was started by Eugene Mazel in the middle of the 19th century. He spent so much on the watering systems for the garden that he died a ruined man. There is a surprisingly wide varie ty of bamboo with their coloured stems – glaucous green, emerald, yellow and black are among the interesting species. The Tour Manager will suggest restaurants for the evening meal.

D0AY 16 Wednesday May 20, 2015 London
Today we travel to Marseilles to board a flight for London where we will spend three nights. On arrival at Heathrow Airport, we will be met by a first-class coach and transferred to our city hotel. The rest of the day is free for sightseeing or shopping. The Tour Manager will suggest restaurants for dinner.

DAY 17 Thursday May 21, 2015 London
The highlight of our time in London is our escorted visit with Deryn Thorpe to the famous Chelsea Flower Show. It is the summer event in the English horticultural calendar and boasts about twenty amazing landscaped gardens built by prominent landscapers and more than five hundred displays featuring the best flowers, plants and trees and many new introductions. For gardeners, it is the experience of a lifetime and a highlight of our garden tour. As we depart Chelsea we meet our London blue badge guide for a comprehensive tour of the main sights of exciting London. We will see Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, The Strand, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. We will have a farewell dinner this evening to say goodbye to our new friends.

DAY 18 Friday May 22, 2015 London
This morning we visit the Royal Horticultural Garden, Wisley. The RHS was given Wisley Estate in trust by Sir Thomas Hanbury in 1903. The garden will capture the imagination with richly planted borders and luscious rose gardens and amazing glasshouses which recreate tropical, moist temperate and dry temperate habitats. Trials of flowers, vegetables and fruit were expanded at Wisley and they continue to be some of the principal features of the garden. Several Chelsea Flower Show prize-winning gardens are displayed in the grounds. Our visit will be an interesting look at the history of gardening in Britain. In the early afternoon we will visit the private garden of Mr and Mrs Raworth and also enjoy afternoon tea. This is a true collectors’ garden, with some rare and unusual plants. Among its many features, cleverly designed into a small space, are hedges of yew, box and hornbeam, which enclose various rooms, a formal knot garden and a sunken Mediterranean garden, full of interesting small plants. At the rear, an emerald grass carpet is flanked by flower borders and backed by old trees, set in a private park. From here we travel to Heathrow airport for our return flight to Australia.

DAY 19 Saturday May 23, 2015 In flight

DAY 20 Sunday May 24, 2015 Arrival
The group arrives in Australia and tour arrangements conclude.

  • Travelrite 2015 Garden Tour of France and England with Deryn Thorpe Tour Brochure Download

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Cost is $9,895 per person twin share
Single fare is $12,948

- Return economy-class air travel from Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane to Paris
- Travel in first-class chartered coach
- Accommodation in first-class and moderate first-class hotels, taxes and service charges
- Continental breakfasts in France and England. One dinner in Paris and a Farewell Dinner in London
- Sightseeing tours as listed in the itinerary
- Entrances to gardens and attractions as detailed in itinerary
- Tour leadership by Deryn Thorpe
- Tour management by Travelrite International Pty. Ltd. with an experienced Tour Manager meeting the group on arrival in Paris and travelling with the group
- A Travelrite travel bag

Not included in the price are:
- Passport and visa fees
- Travel insurance
- Meals unless specified in the itinerary
- Sightseeing and general expenses unless specified in the itinerary
- Additional travel arrangements not in the detailed itinerary – these will be quoted for separately