Visit Les Jardins d'eau de Carsac
The Jardins d'eau de Carsac is a water garden located at Carsac-Aillac in the Dordogne department to the south of Sarlat. If you like water lilies you will love this garden.
Explore the Jardins d'Eau de Carsac-Aillac
The entrance to the garden is through an attractive glass-sided shop and cafe which has an outside terrace that sits over some of the ponds of the water garden. The ponds closest to the cafe are a fish pond with some beautiful koi carp and a pond which is reserved for exotic rather than hardy water lilies. Both are planted with other aquatic plants and are extremely attractive. This is a lovely spot to sit for a coffee before or after your visit.
The exotic water lilies really are incredibly pretty and more delicate looking than the hardy species. Some are scented too! Another pond in this areaa is filled with giant Victoria water lilies. The large flat leaves can get up to 1m50 in diameter!
A path then leads past a heated greenhouse used for exotic and Crusiana water lilies and down a gravel path edged with a hedge of the lovely blue potato bush, Lycianthes rantonnei and also known as Solanum rantonnetii. At the end is a large pond filled with hardy water lilies and with a decorative blue bridge reminiscent of that at Monet's water garden at Giverny.
Further on a long narrow pond crossed via a wooden walkway which zig-zags above the pond allowing you to get close to the plants and really appreciate the range of colours and the lovely flowers. As well as lots of water lilies there are also great masses of lotus plants. which are beautiful with large pink or white flowers. When I went in August they were mostly in seed but the few flowers and the amazing seed pods still looked great.
The lotus flowers generally start opening in June. Rather incredibly the seeds of lotus plants can still germinate up to 1000 years later!
A winding path leads uphill past an attractively planted stream and on to the highlight of the Jardins d'eau de Carsac-Aillac, a stunning aquatic labyrinth. A huge pond has been dug and planted with a beautiful selection of hardy waterlilies and lotus flowers as well as various other aquatic plants. Above this a labyrinth of wooden walkways criss-crosses the pond allowing you to explore all parts of the pond and enjoy not just the beautiful flowers but also you will hear and see the many frogs that live in the bassins and you will also be able to spot the dragonflies zipping from pond to pond.
There are also fountains and water jets that you can modify with an app on your phone and some parasols adding to the charming scene. The aquatic labyrinth really is fabulous and is unique in Europe!
The gardens are also set in a beautiful countryside setting adding to the charm of the visit.
At the end of your visit you can visit a tactile koi carp pond. The pond has glass sides so that you can see the fish swimming underwater. Food for the koi-carp is given for free to children who visit the gardens allowing you to witness a koi-carp feeding frenzy!
Les Jardins d'Eau de Carsac-Aillac garden guide
The water garden of Carsac is situated in Carsac-Aillac close to Sarlat in the Dordogne.
The garden is open May, June, July and August from 10.00-19.00 and September from 11.00-18.00.
Address: Les Jardins d'Eau, Saint-Rome, Carsac-Aillac, 24200 Sarlat.
Visits cost 8 euros for adults, 6.50 euros for 12 to 17, 4.50 euros for 6-11s year olds and free for under 6s.
Gardens to visit nearby
The lovely Jardins de Cadiot are close by at Vitrac and have a wide range of garden styles.
Near to Domme is the pretty Jardins d'Albarede and close to La Roque Gageac is the colourful Jardin de la Ferme Fleurie.
You can find more local travel ideas in the guide.