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The Gardens of Normandy
September 11 - 18, 2018

Price: $4275 plus airfare, $1000 single supplement, deposit of $1,000 due upon registration; final payment due by June 4, 2018. Group size limited to 15.

Tour price includes:
• 4 star hotel accommodations
• All breakfasts and 4 dinners including tips
• Coach transportation
• Admission to all gardens including tips
• Friendly and knowledgeable professional tour coordinator
• Design and botanical expertise of the CarexTours host

Tour price excludes:
• Airfare. Each tour member books their own flight to arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport on
September 11, 2018 and depart from the same airport on September 18, 2018
• Transfer to hotel from airport terminal
• Travel insurance required
• All lunches, 2 dinners, drinks (alcoholic and non alcoholic), and snacks
• Meals on arrival day + lunch and dinner on departure day
• Tips for tour coordinator & coach driver

In the gently rolling hills and picturesque villages of Normandy are some of Europe's most irresistibly beautiful country gardens. Our eight-day tour includes the finest French gardens from the 17th century to the present. We'll explore public and private creations with diverse styles: opulent parterres; naturalistic meadows; walled kitchen gardens; romantic hideaways; and intimate, flower-ringed nooks.

At Giverny, we'll marvel, as Monet did, at the play of light upon water that inspired his world-famous waterlily compositions. Le Jardin Plume will enchant us with its exquisitely shaped wave hedges surrounded by billows of colorful flowers and airy grasses. At Le Bois des Moutiers, we'll explore the only foray into France of the famous English partnership of planting designer Gertrude Jekyll and architect Edwin Lutyens. Les Jardins Agapanthe will give us a lesson in how a visionary owner creates drama with garden objects. And at Versailles, we'll stand in awe of the exacting formal design of one of the world's most treasured gardens. We'll round out our tour with six other gardens and visits to Mont Saint Michel, the village of Honfleur, and Omaha Beach.

September 11, Tuesday – Arrive at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
September 12, Wednesday – Jardins d’Angélique, Château du Champ-de-Bataille
September 13, Thursday – Le Bois des Moutiers, Château de Miromesnil, Les Jardins Agapanthe
September 14, Friday – Le Jardin Plume, Jardin de Valérianes
September 15, Saturday – Les Jardines d’Etretat, Village of Honfleur, Omaha Beach
September 16, Sunday – Mont Saint Michel
September 17, Monday – Giverny, Versailles
September 18, Tuesday – Depart or continue travels on your own

September 11: Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, http://bit.ly/2bFXxtC
September 12 - 14: Chateau de Sissi, http://www.hotelchateaudesissi.com/
September 15 -16: Best Western Plus Hôtel Moderne, http://en.bestwestern-moderne-caen.com/
September 17: Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

Full Itinerary
Day 1, September 11, Tuesday -- ARRIVE IN PARIS
Tour members will independently arrange travel to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and transfer on their own to the Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport where a room will have been booked for them.

We’ll gather in the hotel bar to get acquainted at 6:30 PM for Welcome Cocktails. First drink courtesy of carexTours.

We’ll start our tour at Jardins d’Angelique. Designed by the owners Gloria and Yves Lebellegard, it features two distinct styles. One garden is dreamy, informal, and English-style with winding, grassy paths. The other garden is serene, geometric, and Italianate featuring parterres overflowing with masses of roses, perennials, and ornamental grasses. The gardens are home to a magnificent collection of over 2,000 rose varieties creating a visually rich and remarkably aromatic experience. What a way to start our tour!
Next we’ll visit Château du Champ de Bataille which is certain to delight anyone with a passion for formal design. Jacques Garcia, the French interior and garden designer, spent two decades restoring the château and its acres of gardens with such opulence that it is said to rival Versailles. However, the garden is not reconstruction. Instead, Garcia made a contemporary garden within the classical structure saying that it is “...the inspiration of the moment expressed in eternal forms.” Our visit will be a superb introduction to formal French garden design.

We start our day in the gardens of Le Bois des Moutiers which one could say is a bit of England in France. This magical landscape came about through the successful collaboration in the early 20th century of the owner Guillaume Mallet, the English architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, and the highly influential English horticulturist Gertrude Jekyll. At almost 120-years-old, the garden is an example of a superbly maintained, mature landscape with awe-inspiring 30-foot-tall rhododendrons and immense hortensia hydrangeas along with lovely details in archways, paths, terrace, and pergola. It is truly an artistic fusion of architecture and horticulture. What more could anyone want?
Next we’ll travel to Château de Miromesnil, an 16th century castle and walled park surrounded with a beech grove of more than 3000 trees. That alone would make it worthy of a visit but the real treasure here is most certainly the enclosed classic potager. Here we’ll see on display the alluring French garden tradition of combining ornamentals with productive crops. Colorful vegetables, luscious fruit, and fragrant flowers grow side by side making a tableau that appeals to all the senses. We’ll come away understanding better that the French insistence cooking with fresh ingredients started in their gardens.
We’ll end our day at the highly original Les Jardins Agapanthe, the personal design laboratory of landscape architect Alexandre Thomas. On a 1½ acre plot, Thomas has created a stylish, contemporary garden infused with big ideas. We’ll wander the winding paths that connect imaginatively themed spaces coming upon one surprise after another. Two things we’ll be sure to notice are Thomas’s passion for plants of all kinds and his love of placing antiques throughout the garden. This is a garden that will inspire us all.

Day 4, September 14, Friday -- JARDIN PLUME, JARDIN DE VALERIANES
Today we start with a visit to what is arguably one of the finest modern private gardens in France today: Le Jardin Plume. Designed by the owners Patrick and Sylvie Quibell, the garden skillfully combines the strong linear structural elements of French formality with naturalistic planting schemes of billowing perennials and swaying grasses. The effect is stunning and helps explain why garden lovers from all over the world make sure to visit Plume when they are in France.
It could be said that our next garden, Jardin de Valerianes, is the quintessential Normandy country garden: a sumptuous collection of trees, hydrangeas, perennials, and, of course, roses. Designed by the owners, the 3 acre garden is filled to the brim by their passion for plants. During our stroll through this garden, we’ll notice how skillfully they mixed their planting designs with accents of water, brick, and stone both rustic and contemporary. We’re sure to love this pleasure garden and come away with many ideas for our own gardens when we return home.

Day 5, September 15, Saturday -- JARDINES D'ETRETAT, HONFLEUR, OMAHA BEACH
We start our day at the decidedly avant-garde Jardines d’Etretat. Overlooking the white chalk cliffs on the English Channel, the garden brings together masterful topiary and sculptural land art. This is the singular vision of Russian landscape architect Alexandre Grivko who after making his professional reputation designing for oligarchs calls Jardines d’Etretat his first personal creation. The artistic history of this property goes back to the impressionists when the first garden maker was inspired by Monet. It is only fitting therefore that it continue to be art-inspired and modern. Prepare yourself to see a garden like no other.

We’ll depart briefly from garden paths to savor the food, art galleries, and historic charm of the picturesque village of Honfleur. Honfleur, located where the Seine river meets the English Channel, has been skillfully painted by Monet and other artists and is widely celebrated as the birthplace of Impressionism.
And, lastly today, we’ll experience the crisp air of the Norman Coast as we pay our respects at Omaha Beach where the Allied invasion of German-occupied France took place during World War II.

Day 6, September 16, Sunday -- MONT SAINT MICHEL
With one glimpse of Mont Saint Michel’s silhouette rising above the flat, white sands that surround the granite outcrop where the abbey church sits, we’ll know why this UNESCO World Heritage Site is considered a wonder of the western world. Begun in the middle ages as a monastery, it has long been one of Europe’s important pilgrimage destinations. We’ll be here all day, enough time to learn about the medieval architecture of the Benedictine Abbey, get historical perspective at the museums, or just stroll the steep streets visiting shops and cafes while relishing the atmosphere of this rocky, tidal island.

Day 7, September 17, Monday -- MONET’S GARDEN, VERSAILLES
A tour of Normandy would not be complete without a visit to Monet’s Garden at Giverny. Beloved by gardeners everywhere, we’ll have a chance to see for ourselves this place of color, light, and water. The garden has two parts, the flower garden around the house, which Monet called Le Clos Normand, and across the street, the Water Lily Garden with its famous Japanese bridge. We all know that many of Monet’s most revered works were painted here so it is fascinating that he once said, “My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” How fortunate we are to be able to see it.

The final garden of our tour is perhaps the most spectacular. Versailles, is considered the crown jewel of formal French garden style. Starting in 1661, André Le Nôtre designed this lavish landscape for Louis XIV with a massive 1 mile central axis. It took 40 years to execute this grand redesign of the site with monumental earth moving and importing huge quantities of water but today visitors are treated to one of the world’s most treasured gardens. After Mark Twain visited, he wrote, “You gaze and stare and try to understand that it is real, that it is on the earth, that it is not the Garden of Eden--but your brain grows giddy, stupefied by the world of beauty around you, and you half believe you are the dupe of an exquisite dream.” Could it be that we will feel the same?

Day 8, September 18, Tuesday -- DEPART FOR HOME
Our time together will come to an end but the true garden lover always finds fresh inspiration wherever she is. Travelers can choose to return home or carry on the adventure. We’ll provide coach transfer to the airport at 7:30 AM for those with flights leaving at 11:00 AM or later. Or you can take the train or taxi on your own from hotel to the airport.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Attendees: 1 $ 1,000.00 ea.