Gardens of Normandy,
Picardie & the Loire Valley
A Pacific Horticulture Society tour
June 15-26, 2015

Limited to 18 guests.
Escorted by Linda McKendry

To reserve a space on this tour,
please call for availability.

15 June, Monday: DEPART US or CANADA for Paris France

16 June, Tuesday: PARIS / ROUEN   
Meet with our English speaking guide at the Paris CDG airport at 1:30PM.  Our guide will escort us to
our private coach for departure on the first leg of our journey, the lovely old town of Rouen where we
will be based for the next 4 nights.   Rouen is a city of magnificent Gothic architecture, charming half-
timbered houses and contemporary bustle. In April 1944, Allied bombers destroyed half of Rouen,
especially the industrial suburbs. Fortunately, most of the historic area survived intact, and the Gothic
cathedral painted by Monet can still be admired today.  Rouen is where Joan of Arc was burned at the
stake and the exact spot, is marked by a tall cross near the church entrance. It is also the place where
Julia Child had her first meal in France at Restaurant La Couronne… the rest is history!  Check into
Hotel Mercure Cathedrale Rouen.  In the centre of Rouen, the 4* Mercure Rouen Centre Cathédrale
is ideally located in the pedestrian only area, at the foot of the Cathedral, immortalized by Monet’s
paintings.  Free time to freshen up before we gather for a Welcome dinner at a nearby typical French
brasserie.  3-course menu with wine included.    Hotel Mercure Cathedrale (D)

17 June, Wednesday:  ROUEN                                 
After breakfast, we begin our first day of touring in this region which has
a wealth of remarkable gardens.  Our visits today will include the Arboretum
d’Harcourt. A veritable botanical treasure matching the architectural quality
of the buildings, it comprises over 500 species of trees and shrubs spread
over 25 acres. It was created in the 19th century by France’s Agricultural
Academy and one of the first to introduce certain hitherto unknown species.
You will find trees of outstanding quality such as the Contorted Beech, the
Bald or Swamp Cypress, Metasequoias and Nothofagus or Southern Beech,
to name but a few.  Lunch is included at a local restaurant – 2-course menu
with wine or soft drink.  On the very site of the 10th century battle that gave
victory to William Longsword and brought independence to Normandy, an
extraordinary contemporary park has been created, in a skillfully restyled
classical setting.  Owned by renowned stylist and designer Jacques Garcia
at Champ de Bataille,  the château, one of the finest 18th century estates in
France, achieves its fullest expression in the restored French gardens that
cover over 90 acres.   In his own words…" I recreated from scratch the            
Rouen Cathedral by C. Monet
gardens which had once evidently been sumptuous, but completely lost over time, even down to the
last traces. One solitary document had escaped oblivion, a sketch by the hand of a great landscape
artist, possibly Le Nôtre himself. This document designated the layout of some of the elements from
the period which we have scrupulously reconstituted. These elements, along with my ardent desire to
rediscover the antique source, gave the measurements and the inspiration for the new gardens,
produced by Patrick Pottier.  We set out with the aim to create a contemporary work of art in spirit but
one which would remain timeless in its main lines. « The inspiration of the moment expressed by
classic forms », such is the directing principle of this modern park, harmoniously blossoming in a
classic, one might even say, Roman setting”.  The Champ de Bataille also boasts vast apartments
whose rich baroque decoration bursts forth from floor to ceiling, creating a welcoming backcloth for
some very fine collections.  With exquisite taste guided by a love of beautiful things, Jacques Garcia
has restored or replaced the furniture and fittings dispersed during the French Revolution.  Return to
Rouen for evening at leisure.   Hotel Mercure Cathedrale (B,L)

18 June, Thursday: ROUEN          
Today we depart for a visit of Claude Monet's gardens
at Giverny.  In 1883, Claude Monet and his family
settled into Giverny, where he spent the next 40 years.
He built this fabulous garden, first inspired by the
scenes from the Japanese prints that were so in
fashion at the time, and which he collected.  You will
see the famous pond with water lilies and its wooden
footbridge (for those who may have a chance to spend
some time in Paris, do not miss a visit of the Orangerie Museum to see the Water Lillies paintings).  
In June, roses, poppies, clematis and tamaris trees are usually in full bloom.   Free time to wander
around these exceptional gardens.    It is also fun to visit the farmhouse, with its rooms painted in
bright colors picked by Monet.    The furniture and the objects are still exactly the same, giving it a
great authenticity.   We will break for an included lunch – 3 course menu with wine or soft drink.   
This afternoon, before departing Giverny we stop for an apple cider and apple juice tasting at an
apple orchard (cider in Normandy is an alcoholic drink).    On our way back towards Rouen we stop
for a visit at the Jardins d'Angelique.  These gardens were created by the owners in memory of their
daughter Angelique, around a lovely manor house.  In front of the house is a large lawn edged with
beautiful flower borders, with the feel of an English Garden.  The garden is full of flowers, all in
shades of white, pink and blue. Roses are a favorite and are planted in large numbers in the garden.  
The garden behind the house is set out in a formal French garden style, again with flowers in the
same shades of colors.  Return to Rouen for evening at leisure.  Hotel Mercure Cathedrale (B,L)  

19 June, Friday: ROUEN         
Our day of touring takes us towards the coast today, for a visit of the late Princess Sturdza’s iconic
Vasterival Garden.   This very special garden attracts amateur gardeners as well as the most
renowned botanists and horticulturists.  A self-taught gardener, Princess Sturdza acclimatized more
than 10 000 species and plant varieties, from the commonest to the rarest, in this small fresh and
sheltered valley and created a setting beautiful all year round and in all directions.  Lunch is included
at a nearby restaurant – 2 course menu with wine or soft drink.We visit the Gardens Agapanthe,
composed of two gardens.   The first is about 20 years old and the second just opened last June.
However, they are both timeless.  Alexandre Thomas created the first garden on different levels, thus
giving the illusion of spaciousness. The second garden now complements the first, with its many
interesting views and a completely different way of handling certain trees and shrubs, selected for
their stronger colors and planted in greater numbers, resulting in a garden which is both new and
every bit as original as the first. The overall impression in both gardens is of peace and tranquility: the
silence is disturbed only by the soft buzz of insects or the murmur of a quick flowing stream.   Return
to Rouen for evening at leisure.   Hotel Mercure Cathedrale (B,L)

20 June, Saturday: ROUEN / TOURS                               
This morning we leave Rouen and head south to the Loire Valley, another remarkable region for
garden touring.  We will stop on our way for a visit of Jardin du Petit Bordeaux, near the city of Le
Mans.  This intimate garden of less than 4 acres features an amazing collection of 3800 species and
varieties of trees, shrubs, ancient roses and perennials.  The mix of relief with colorful shapes and
volumes and grass pathways make it a delight for the eyes.  The garden also features collections of
hydrangeas, day lilies, kousa dogwood, and Japanese maples.   Lunch is included at a local
restaurant – 2-course menu with wine or soft drink.  Our final destination is Tours where we spend the
next 4 nights.  The city of Tours is called “The Garden of France" because of its several parks located
within the city. Tours is located between the two main rivers of the area, the Loire to the north and the
Cher to the south. Its original medieval district has wonderfully preserved half-timbered buildings and
la Place Plumereau, a square with busy pubs and restaurants, whose open-air tables fill the centre of
the square.  Near the cathedral, in the garden of the former Palais des Archevêques (now the Fine
Arts Museum), is a huge cedar tree planted by Napoleon.  The garden also has in an alcove a stuffed
elephant, Fritz, which had to be shot down after he escaped from the Barnum & Bailey Circus during
their visit in 1902.   Check into the 4* Hotel de l’Univers, located right in the city centre, opposite the
Town Hall. The hotel is famous for its long list of illustrious guests, immortalized in a unique portrait
gallery.  All its rooms were recently renovated.   Hotel de l’Univers (B,L)

21 June, Sunday:  TOURS                                                         
Our morning is spent at the International Garden Festival
at Chaumont-sur-Loire.  This is the 23rd season of the
competition and this year’s theme is “Extraordinary
Gardens – Collector’s Gardens”.   Over the years, the
diversity and the high quality of the projects have
contributed to the Festival’s international reputation, a
great place for displaying the work of a new generation
of landscape gardeners, architects, designers or
gardeners.  After a lunch break  (not included), we travel to Chenonceau for a visit of this lovely
Chateau, one of the most beautiful in the Loire Valley, built over the Cher River. It is known as the
Chateau of Six Women and once belonged to Catherine de Medici.  Return to Tours where we gather
for a 3-course dinner with wine and coffee included at a local restaurant.    Hotel de l’Univers (B,D)

22 June, Monday: TOURS                                                
After breakfast, we depart for a visit of Le Jardin du Plessis-Sasnieres. Created in 1975 by Rosamée
Henrion, former French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's sister-in-law, with the help of one of her
sons, an interior designer, this 8.5 acre contemporary style English garden, lies in a gentle valley with
a small lake and waterfall.  There is an abundance of roses, subtly combined with many rare and
unusual flowers, plants and flowering trees and shrubs. Grassy paths lead through the landscaped
park past basins of trout bordered by Japanese primroses.  The ancient enclosed kitchen garden
have been planted with bulbs, roses and perennials to create a symphony of colors.  We will enjoy a 3-
course lunch with drinks included.      This afternoon’s visit takes us to Villandry’s world famous
Renaissance vegetable garden. Here we’ll also enjoy the ornamental garden, a medicinal plant
garden, a splendid view from the Belvedere and the new Italian style waterfalls.   The gardens are in
constant evolution and are equally wonderful to discover for the first time or to revisit.  Return to
Tours for evening at leisure.    Hotel de l’Univers (B,L)

23 June, Tuesday: TOURS      
This morning takes us to Chateau du Riveau for
a visit of its Rose Gardens and fairytale gardens.
The rose collection, which features over 450
varieties, is a conservatory of the fragrant rose
and this is the criteria of selection.  The 14 Fairy
Tale gardens evoke the wonderful stories and
legends of our childhood.  Gargantua's Kitchen
Garden, the Enchanted Forest, the Flowery Meadow, the Delightful Border, the Lovers Wood, the
Landscape Balcony, the Cassinina, the Orchard of Paradise, the Petit Poucet's Path and the Secret
Garden, are many illustrations of themes from fairytale imagination. Elves, ogres, giants, good fairies
and fantastic topiary animals accompany the visitors' steps.  We’ll end our visit here with a lovely
picnic lunch.   This afternoon we make our way to Chateau de la Bourdaisiere.  The 135 acre park of
Chateau de la Bourdaisiere features remarkable species including collections of cedar, redwood and
chestnut oaks.  However, the focus of our visit is the two-and-a-half-acre kitchen garden, which grows
a myriad of heritage vegetables in biodynamic, organic fashion. The Tomato Conservatory is the
world’s most extensive, with almost 650 varieties of heirloom tomatoes!  
Return to Tours for evening at leisure.    Hotel de l’Univers (B,L)

24 June, Wednesday: CHANTILLY                                
We leave behind the charm of the Loire
Valley today and travel north to the
equally lovely Chantilly.   On our way, we
will stop at Chateau de Courances, a still
lived-in castle dating from the 17th century.
Its current owner, Valentine de Ganay has
opened an organic fruit and vegetable
garden in 2013, which provides its fare to
Paris restaurants and organic shops.   However, the true star here is the park of Courances which
extends over 185 acres. Presented for a long time as a “Le Nôtre” garden, the park is in reality a
century older. First and foremost, the park is a “water garden” dating back to the Renaissance, a style
that came after the closed medieval garden but before the classic park. The park of Courances was
constantly modified over the centuries, with each owner wishing to establish his personal imprint. The
classic French park of the 17th century, the French-style garden of the 19th and Japonism all cohabit.
Abandoned in 1830, then restored by Achille Duchêne, the park underwent many twists and turns!
Today the park is still in constant evolution and is labeled as “Remarkable Garden”.  We’ll stop for an
included lunch en route – 2 courses with wine or soft drink.  We arrive at our final destination in the
afternoon for some time and evening at leisure in Chantilly.  Chantilly is only 25 miles away from Paris,
but with its large forest, its beautiful castle and charming village it is easy to imagine oneself in the
countryside.   It is famous for its Castle, but also for its lace and of course, for its Crème Chantilly - the
original whip cream.     Check into 5* Auberge du Jeu de Paume for 2 nights.  Tucked away in the
stunning natural setting of the Domaine de Chantilly, the Auberge du Jeu de Paume, Relais &
Châteaux, is the very expression of fine French living.   Auberge du Jeu de Paume (B, L)

25 June, Thursday:  CHANTILLY         
Our day doesn’t involve any travelling! Our hotel is right by the Chantilly Castle and Park, which we
will spend the day discovering.  We’ll of course visit the park, divided into three historical gardens: the
French style garden designed by André Le Nôtre, the Chinese-English garden and its Hameau and
the English garden.  No visit of Chantilly would be complete without the Condé Museum's painting
collection, inside the Castle.  It is the number one museum of ancient paintings (prior to 1850) in
France after the Louvre Museum. Comprised of more than a dozen rooms, you'll discover throughout
the tour over 800 masterpieces of French, Italian, Flemish, English painting and more. Many art
pieces complete this collection.  The castle in its present form was the residence of the Duke of
Aumale, who thought he would be reincarnated as a horse. He therefore built incredible Stables,
which we will also visit, along with the newly re-opened Museum of the Horse.  It is both an artistic and
an ethnographic museum. With a resolutely up-to-date museography and many audiovisuals and
interactive stations, it allows visitors to enjoyably widen their knowledge of our equine friends.  We
shall also attend the lovely equestrian show (subject to schedule).   Our farewell dinner will be at a
local restaurant.   Auberge du Jeu de Paume (B,D)

26 June, Friday: DEPART                                                                
All good things must come to an end…  After breakfast, individual departures to CDG airport (not
included) or continue with a Paris extension.  

Based on a minimum of 15 paying guests $4950.00 for members of Pacific Horticulture Society, $5050
for non-members.  (Membership in PacHort starts at just $28, join now at Single
supplement:  $ 1,498.00.  A deposit of $500 per person is required to secure a reservation, with
balance due 60 days before departure.

•        Four nights at 4* Hotel Mercure Rouen Cathedral.
•        Four nights at 4* Hotel de l’Univers in Tours
•        Two nights at 5* Auberge du Jeu de Paume
•        $250 donation to Pacific Horticulture Society
•        Services of an English speaking guide.
•        Transportation by Deluxe, air conditioned motor coach.
•        10 breakfasts (B), 7 lunches (L), 3 dinners (D)  
•        Admission fees for all visits as stated in itinerary  
•        Escorted by Pacific Horticultural Board member Linda McKendry  

•        International Airfare
•        Meals and drinks not specifically mentioned
•        Entrance fees not specifically mentioned
•        Room Service
•        Excess Baggage Charges & Porterage
•        Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, etc...
•        Gratuities for guides and drivers.
•        Trip insurance – strongly suggested.

Terms and Conditions----please click HERE

FLIGHTS--where to meet the tour:    The tour begins with Welcome Dinner in Rouen, France the
evening of June 16.  We've included transfers from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to Rouen
departing 130pm June 16, so flights should be booked to arrive Paris/CDG in sufficient time to clear
customs and immigration and then meet our guide and motorcoach (in other words, by 1030am).  Our
tour ends with breakfast June 26 at our hotel, located about 30 minutes by taxi from CDG airport.  
Transfers back to the airport are not included in the tour.  We suggest contacting
Leslie Garber of
Cadence Travel for assistance booking flights.  She charges a fee for her service, but our guests find
her services to be of value.

TRAVEL INSURANCE:  As your deposit and final payment are both non-refundable, we wish to make
you aware that individual travel insurance is available to protect you against cancellation penalties as
well as provide coverage should an incident occur during the trip.  We will send an email with your
deposit confirmation with information about how to get a free quote and/or secure your coverage
online or by phone.    Note that pre-existing conditions may be covered if the insurance is purchased
within a short time after trip deposit.  Group travel insurance will not be offered with this tour.

If you have already called to check availability, please click HERE to register

For further information, please contact:
Sterling Tours, Ltd            
2907 Shelter Island Drive Suite #105-262    
San Diego, CA 92106      Tel: 619 299-3010     800-976-9497
sterling tours, ltd