Visit Garden Festival of Chaumant sur Loire
Chaumont sur Loire is in the Loir-et-Cher department in central France. This area is full of stunning chateaux built all along the edge of the Loire river and nearby. Many have beautiful gardens either in the original formal style or added more recently to enhance the castle grounds.
At Chaumont the castle and gardens play host to the leading French garden festival and to a permanent display of art both within the castle and in the grounds.
Visit the International Garden Festival of Chaumant sur Loire
Every year in France the grounds of the beautiful Chateau de Chaumont are host to the International Garden Festival of Chaumont. Each year there is a different theme.
Chaumont did not have a garden at all until the 16th century. In the 19th century lots of trees were planted but it was Prince de Broglie who created the grounds that exist today and have the style of English landscape gardens with gentle hills and lawn and clearings between trees giving views towards the Loire and the chateau.
The garden festival began in 1992 and has become a key part of the gardening calender. Garden designers from around the world compete to design one of the 30 or so show gardens in the grounds of the castle. Each year a different theme is chosen and the gardens are planted up ready for opening in mid April.
The style of the gardens tends to be more contemporary than those exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show. One great advantage of the International Garden Festival at Chaumont is that it is open from April to October and so can easily be slotted into a tour of the Gardens of the Loire Valley.
However this does provide a challenge for designers. We visited in September and felt that perhaps the designers needed to revisit the gardens occasionally throughout the year as some exhibits looked a bit tired and I think none were looking as good as they undoubtedly did in April!
The 2017 theme was "Flower Power" and some pictures from the gardens can be seen below along with some of the permanent planting.
As well as the exhibition gardens the domaine has lots of borders surrounding the castle and surrounding the exhibition gardens which are very nicely planted. These may change from year to year but during our 2017 visit borders of salvias, geraniums and large seed heads of papyrus grasses were looking wonderful.
Another combination looking great was that of Agaves with glaucous blue leaves interspersed with pink flowering sedums looking fantastic in September.
Following the success of the garden festival Chaumant started an Art festival in 2008 and this includes various land-art installations scattered around the grounds including an egg-shaped stone cairn by Andy Goldsworthy and works by Patrick Dougherty and Tadashi Kawamata amongst others.
Gardens of Light
During the summer (1 July to 31 August) the gardens can be visited in the evening and for these night time visits the gardens are beautifully illuminated.
Chaumont sur Loire Garden Festival Guide
The festival gardens are open from 21st April to 6 November from 10.00 until - between 17.00 and 19.00 depending on the time of year.
In July and August you can take a candlelit tour of the gardens. These visits are from 10pm to midnight.
Entrance to the domaine (castle and gardens) is 18 euros for adults and 6 euros for 6-11s. Under 6 free. For the garden festival only tickets are 15 euros and 5 euros for 6-11s.
A selection of restaurants are available on site.
This garden is situated between Tours and Blois in the Loire Valley.
Address: International Garden Festival of Chaumant sur Loire, 41150 Chaumont sur Loire
Gardens to Visit Nearby
The Chateau de Chenonceau is nearby and has an impressive French formal garden surrounding the chateau. It also has an amazing cutting garden where they grow flowers for the stunning flower arrangements displayed throughout the castle.
Also in this part of France is the Chateau de Valencay which also has fine formal French gardens and also has a wonderful modern take on a meadow garden. Large squares of meadow have been created with mown paths between the squares so that you can really get close and admire the pretty meadow flowers.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.