Photo of Ile de Versailles

Visit Ile de Versailles

In the very heart of Nantes find this wonderful Japanese garden.The garden covers 1.7 hecatares and sits on the Ile de Versailles, a small island in the River Erdre. Walk to the gardens from the centre of Nantes.

Explore the Ile de Versailles garden

The Ile de Versailles is a small island in the River Erdre in the heart of Nantes and was created in 1831 and used by carpenters and tanners.

In 1986 following an architectural competition the winners developped the Ile de Versailles with a Japanese theme. At the centre of the island is a house with information about the historical activities of the island as well as its plant and animal life.

This house has been designed in the style of a traditional Japanese tea pavilion.

Surrounding this is a Zen garden with rocks water features and planting typical of a Japanese garden such as bamboos, azaleas, acers, camilleas and flowering cherry trees. There are cloud pruned trees, waterfalls and Japanese lanterns and pavillions decorating the gardens.

The garden has been laid out with rockeries and waterfalls which link three buildings all of which are built in Japanese style.

The Ile de Versailles garden is wonderful in spring and autumn but full of interest even in the heart of winter.

Ile de Versailles garden guide

The garden is open during daylight hours and is free to visit. The Ile de Versailles is closed on Thursdays and also on 25 December, 1 January and 1 May.

Walk onto the island from the Quai de Versailles or the Quai Henri Barbusse. You can also hire an electric boat to explore the river and see the garden from the river.

There is a restaurant on the island allowing you to enjoy the garden whilst relaxing over refreshments. There are also toilets and a childrens play area and paths suitable for wheelchair users.


Gardens to visit nearby

Nantes has some other excellent gardens:

The Jardin des Plantes de Nantes is a large botanical garden with more than 11 000 different species of plants including a collection of Camellias. It has a large English style park and an impressive palm house.

The Parc de la Beaujoire has several beautiful rose gardens as well as an area dedicated to perennials, an iris garden and several large ponds beautifully planted.

The Parc du Proce is a large public garden with lots of grassy areas but it also has a collection of dahlias, an attractive stream bordered by a lovely border and a hydrangea border.

The Parc de la Gaudiniere has an attractive stream and borders and a huge rock garden.

The Parc du Grand Blottereau is a large park with a Mediterranean garden, a French garden, tropical greenhouses and a collection of Cannas.

Recently added is the stunning Jardin Extraordinaire which has been created in an old quarry and has 25 meter cliffs and a waterfall as the backdrop to the gardens.

If you have been inspired by the Japanese gardens of the Ile de Versailles you will want to visit the Parc Oriental de Maulevrier which is the largest Japanese garden in France and is about an hours drive from here.

You can find more local travel ideas in the North West France guide,

See also: 

Map of Ile de Versailles and places to visit


Ile de Versailles places to visit

The Jardin Extraordinaire of Nantes

The Jardin Extraordinaire of Nantes

The Jardin Extraordinaire has been created in an old quarry and has a spectacular backdrop of cliffs and waterfalls and luxuriant planting.

The Jardin Extraordinaire of Nantes guide
Parc Oriental de Maulevrier

Parc Oriental de Maulevrier

The Parc Oriental de Maulevrier is the largest Japanese garden in France

Parc Oriental de Maulevrier guide