5 local gardens to delight…


Jardin Botanique et Exotique Val Rahmeh

Avenue Saint Jacques, 06500, Menton

Created by Lord Radcliffe, former Governor of Malta, and dating from 1875, this substantial garden fronting the sea showcases some 1500 species of plant, around 140 of which are rare. Collections include palms, citrus fruits, edible tropical plants and exotic specimens. A lotus pond, a palm avenue over 100 years old, a rainforest area and a 400 year old olive are some of the other delights that await visitors.

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Serre de la Madone

74 route du Val de Gorbio, 06500, Menton (take the No 7 bus from Gare Routiere)

Often referred to as a ‘gardener’s garden’ or a ‘plantsman’s garden’ Serre de la Madone was created from 1924 by Lawrence Johnston, who also created the celebrated Hidcote Manor garden in England.  Like Hidcote, the garden features a series of ‘rooms’ that include many rare and unusual flowers, as well as an orangery, water features, Italian sculptures and more. NB, Terraces mean this garden is unsuitable for less able-bodied or disabled people. Food is not available on site, some drinks are, but best to bring water.

Villa Maria Serena

21 Promenade Reine Astrid, 06500, Menton

With commanding views over the sea and Menton old town, these gardens surround the Villa (not open to the public) built by celebrated architect Charles Garnier in 1886, for the Foucher de Careil family.  The house was then acquired in 1922 by British banker Henry Konig, and left to the town in 1947. The gardens include some wonderful palm specimens, as well as bananas, citrus trees and other exotic and subtropical plants and flowers. Guided tours are available, and include some history of the town itself.  Easy access to the Italian border and the pretty coastal path alongside.

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Giardini Botanici Hanbury - Villa Hanbury

Corso Montecarlo 43 | Località La Mortola, 18039, Ventimiglia, Italy

Offering spectacular views of the coast, and considered by some to be amongst the 10 most beautiful gardens in Italy, the gardens at Villa Hanbury, just over the border, are a must for any garden lover and a treat to visit. The gardens were established from 1868 by the British philanthropist Sir Thomas Hanbury, and the botanist Ludwig Winter. Some 2500 species in the garden include collections of palms, salvias, agave, aloes, Australian trees, and citrus.

Le Jardin Medieval de Sainte-Agnès

Le Village, 06500 Sainte-Agnès, France

For unparalleled views of the coast, and a unique and memorable experience, a trip to the smaller jardin medieval in Sainte-Agnes village is well worth a visit.At 800m it is one of the highest coastal villages in France, and listed as ‘one of the most beautiful villages in France’.The charming garden is part of the ruined C9th chateau (also open to the public), and features vines, flowers and topiary, as well as a potager, grown on terraces on the mountainside.“An oasis of tranquillity ontop of the world.”