Photo of Les Jardins de Colette

Visit Les Jardins de Colette

The famous French writer, Colette, used to holiday at the Chateau de Castel Novel in Varetz in the Correze department of France. Near to the chateau the 'Jardins de Colette' have been created in her memory and highlighting different phases of her life through plants and landscapes.

Explore the Jardins de Colette

The gardens cover more than 5 hectares and is split into distinct sections celebrating different aspects of Colette's life. Each section has a picture of Colette and a description of the significane of the highlighted region to Colette's life.

At the entrance to the gardens is a shop and a salon de thé offering refreshments for before or after your visit. The garden stretches out from here along a path bordered by a pretty selection of trees and bushes.

Entrance to gardens

The first garden is the Burgundy garden as Colette was born in Saint Sauveur en Puisaye in Burgundy in 1873. The garden includes plants from the region and a potager evoking the vegetable garden in her childhood home.

The second garden is an area given over to trees representing the beech, poplars and cypres trees found in the large park that was part of her home in 'le domaine des Monts Boucons' in the Franche-Comté region.

It was in this region that Colette wrote "Dialogues de betes" the first novel she published 'almost' in her own name rather than her husband's name Willy. In fact she signed as Colette Willy and kept this name for several years before signing simply as "Colette".


Garden 3 takes us to Brittanz where Colette lived from 1910 to 1927 in Rozven near to Saint-Malo. In this garden blocks of granite represent the cliffs and the planting is dominated by eryingiums and verbena bonisaris both common to the seaside landscape of the area.

Chardons are also in the garden to evoke not only the plants of Brittany but also one of Colette's best known books "Le Blé en herbe" in which Phil, a teenager, gives a bouquet of blue chardons to Mme Dalleray - an older woman!

Jardins de Colette, Bretagne garden

Whilst in Brittany Colette started writing for the paper "Matin" and met the editor Henry de Jouvenel. A relationship ensued which led Colette to the next chapter in her life in the Corrèze.

Garden 4 represents the Correze region and the chateau de Castle Novel - the chateau next to these gardens. This garden has lots of different varieties of willows as these were very common in the are in the late 19th and early 20th century and were used for basket weaving. There is also a chicken coop as Colette's daughter took great pleasure in feeding the hens whilst in the Corrèze.

Following her divorce in 1925 Colette met Maurice Goudeket and with her discovered Provence. This is the theme of the 4th garden and our personal favourite. A long rill provides freshness and either side of this are borders packed with favourites such as rudbekias, echinaceas, day-lillies, crocosmia and gauras. These evoke the "parallel flower borders evoked in "Prisons et Paradis".

les jardins de Colette, Provence garden

Colette loved the Provence region (who doesn't!) and bought a small house called "La Treille Muscate" near to Saint-Tropez. Here she lived a simple life with her last husband Mauice Goudeket. Evoking this seaside home olive trees, bamboos, lavenders and cypres trees all appear in the Provence garden.

Colette was a big fan of roses and at the end of the Provence garden is a delightful rose garden.

The 6th and final gardin is the Palais Royal garden evoking her final house on the rue de Beaujolais near to the Palais Royal in Paris. Colette lived here for 16 years and died here at the age of 81.

This era is depicted in the garden with avenues of lime trees like those in the gardens of the Palais Royal. Flowers in this garden are blue, white and yellow like those of the Palais Royal and include perovskia, chrysanthemums and coreopsis.

Les Jardins de Colette visitor information

ColetteThe gardens are on the edge of the town of Varetz (19240) in Correze. It is not far from Brive-la-Gaillarde. Visits cost 8.50 euros for adults, 7.00 euros for 6-18 year olds and 5.50 for 3-6 year olds. Young children are free. 

Address:Parc Floral Les Jardins de Colette, 19240 Varetz

Visiting Hours:July and August: 10.00-19.00 every day.

April, May, June and September: 10.00-18.00, closed Mondays.

October: 14.00-18.00, Wednesday to Sunday. Plus every day 10.00-18.00 during the school holidays

Gardens to visit nearby

Les Jardins de l'Imaginaire at Terrasson is a magnificent contemporary garden well worth a visit.

The Jardin de Lostanges at Lostanges near to Beaulieu has plants from around the world.

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

See also: 

Photos of Les Jardins de Colette

Click any picture to start the gallery

  • colette-dog
  • correze
  • entrance-tea-shop
  • eryngium-variifolium
  • provence
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  • rose-garden

Map of Les Jardins de Colette and places to visit


Les Jardins de Colette places to visit

Les Jardins de l'Imaginaire

Les Jardins de l'Imaginaire

Les Jardins de l'Imaginaire is a contemporary garden which sits above and has great views of the town of Terrasson.

Les Jardins de l'Imaginaire guide
Les Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac

Les Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac

Les Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac is an incredible garden of topiary shapes and clipped hedges.

Les Jardins du Manoir d'Eyrignac guide
Les Jardins du Chateau de Hautefort

Les Jardins du Chateau de Hautefort

Les Jardins du Chateau de Hautefort. This spectacular castle is surrounded by impressive formal gardens.

Les Jardins du Chateau de Hautefort guide
Chateau de Losse Gardens

Chateau de Losse Gardens

The beautiful Chateau de Losse is surrounded by very simple and stylish garden with lots of clipped box and lavender balls.

Chateau de Losse Gardens guide
Les Jardins de Cadiot

Les Jardins de Cadiot

Les Jardins de Cadiot is a large garden with lots of different styles and large collections of peonies and day lilies and more.

Les Jardins de Cadiot guide
Les Jardins d'eau de Carsac

Les Jardins d'eau de Carsac

The Jardins d'Eau de Carsac is a water garden full of water lilies and lotus flowers.

Les Jardins d'eau de Carsac guide