Boxwood Tours exclusive tour for EBTS led by Kirsty Fergusson
and hosted by EBTS UK Deputy Chairman, Charlotte Maclean
The Calvados region of Normandy has a varied terrain that stretches from the rugged Cotentin Peninsula, through the bocage, a rolling landscape of dense hedgerows and wooded valleys to the area’s celebrated and plentiful cider orchards. Again, we have selected a group of fine gardens, all with strong elements of topiary, and all of great contrast where we will meet owners and gardeners to learn about the art of topiary from a uniquely French perspective. Our tour is based at the four-star Best Western Moderne, conveniently located in the heart of historic Caen. The restaurants, where we will experience some of Normany’s gastronomic delights are Le Bistronome and Le Grande Bouteille.
Assemble Portsmouth harbour for travel by Brittany ferries to Ouistreham. Kirsty Fergusson will meet you on arrival and we drive the short distance to Chateau de Brécy, the private residence of Didier Wirth, who with his late wife Barbara, has restored and re-invented both chateau and gardens with enormous verve and flair. This complex and sophisticated garden rises behind the chateau in a series of formal terraces, each one different and designed to give the illusion of a long perspective that continues through a pair of wrought iron gates on the skyline to the green fields beyond. Drive on to our hotel for a welcoming drink and dine together at Le Bistronome.
Following the Normandy coast northwards, we arrive at Etretat, a seaside resort, famous for its towering chalk cliffs and elephantine natural arch, frequently painted by Monet and other impressionist artists. Across the small bay and offering a dramatic view of the cliffs, town and beach below, we discover the highly original Jardins d’Etretat, opened to the public in 2017 to critical acclaim. Contemporary sculpture, sound installations and swirling topiary reflecting the natural landscape beyond the gardens are the work of Russian-born landscape artist, Alexander Grivko. After a picnic lunch we continue to Château de Boutemont. When Achille Duchêne was asked to design these gardens at the beginning of the twentieth century, he was opposed to the still fashionable (in France) English Landscape style and thus returned to a more formal French garden style that has been embellished with love and care by the current owners.
Today we visit two very new privately-owned gardens: Les Jardins du Pays d’Auge where we enjoy lunch in a traditional creperie and Le Domaine d’Albizia. Both gardens have been created in the past decade by dedicated planstmen and women, inspired by Normandy’s rich horticultural heritage and bucolic landscapes. On our return journey to the hotel we visit the magical, exquisite and imaginatively planted Les Jardins de Castillon-Plantbessin, where owner Hubert de Saint-Beuve will introduce the garden he and his wife began to plant over forty years ago.
This morning we journey to the 17th century chateau of La Ballue, that is surrounded by topiary gardens of the highest standards. The first geometric garden on the terrace has triangular flowerbeds, with clipped yew and privet ornamentation, this is followed by a long tunnel of black yew trees and diaphanous wisteria which announces the second garden, designed as an initiation route through which one passes constantly from shade to light, from intrigue to serenity, from laughter to reverie. The route continues in the moat garden where we discover over 400 specimens of Buxus. Lunch is included at La Ballue. We continue to St Malo for the late afternoon ferry service to Portsmouth.
How much & what's included
The price per person: £1950
Single supplement: £175 (levied by the hotel).
The price includes bed and breakfast accommodation at the Best Western Modene Caen. The price does not include extras or travel insurance. Please note that Boxwood Tours have arranged for transport as foot passengers, should you wish to take a vehicle please contact our office, where we will be able to assist your request.
To make a reservation please make a deposit of £350 per person and send a completed Booking Form to:
Boxwood Tours, 1 West Street, Buckingham, MK18 1HL, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)1341 241717
Please make cheques payable to ‘Boxwood Tours’’. Payments by Visa, Mastercard, or Maestro may be made by telephone to the Boxwood Office or through the booking facility on the website: www.boxwoodtours.co.uk
FINANCIAL FAILURE INSURANCE
Arena Tours Ltd is a company committed to customer satisfaction and consumer financial protection. We are therefore pleased to announce that, at no extra cost to you, and in accordance with ”The Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018” all passengers booking with Boxwood Tours are fully protected in the unlikely event of our insolvency, please contact us for further details.