des Arts de Vivre
The Art of Luxury Travel
The Marqueyssac gardens in the Dordogne region

& Gardens

Private Architecture and Garden
Tours in France

You stroll through the classic French gardens, low box hedges creating an ornate pattern in which other plants grow, everything in its place.  Very neat.  Very orderly.  A few steps further, you enter the jardin à l’anglaise, English gardens, a riot of flowers whose exuberance highlights the stone arches through which you see a glimpse of the chateau.

Your AAV (Académie des Arts de Vivre) local guide explains the history of the chateau, the context in which it was built, and how the gardens were designed.  Studying beautiful buildings and lovely gardens—what a nice way to learn French history.

Tailor my trip
Photo of our garden expert guide

Working closely with AAV, I tailor garden tours to the seasons and the requests of the clients. The tours include the best of French gardens, from the historical landscapes of le Nôtre, to more contemporary gardens. The AAV service is second to none, the attention to detail is fantastic and they are full of great ideas to help get clients get the most from their visit.

Lynda H. Garden Expert

Experience Architecture
and Gardens
 in France

AAV, your high end travel agents, has a great expertise in architecture and gardens.  As a result, we can offer you entire luxury vacations around the themes of architecture and gardens—or simply a day or an afternoon visiting an architectural gem.


The underbelly of Versailles gardens
Underneath the gardens of the Chateau de Versailles is a vast network, 35 km of pipes, which have brought water to the garden’s 55 basins and fountains since the time of Louis XIV and still supply the water during the Fountain Show each weekend in spring and summer.  Visit this labyrinth in the company of a local guide who will explain the history of this amazing engineering feat.


Eco-friendly vegetable gardens in the  Loire Valley
Gardeners in the Loire Valley have taken the kitchen garden to new heights.  A local expert will show you his vegetable garden developed according to organic and permaculture principles, closing the nutrient and water loop, creating zero waste, and maintaining a wide variety of production.  Learn tricks you can use in your own garden.


18th century Enlightenment gardens
Enlightenment gardens were designed with irregular lines and wandering paths, meant to stimulate the viewer’s imagination.  Visit three exquisite examples of this type of garden:  the Queen’s Garden in Versailles, the Anglo-Chinese garden in Chantilly which inspired Marie-Antoinette, and also the gardens in Rambouillet with the Queen’s dairy and the shell cottage.


The lemons of Menton
Nestled on the hillside overlooking the Mediterranean, La Citronneraie in Menton is a breathtaking collection with over 800 varieties of plants:  lemon, olive, grapefruit, clementine, grapefruit, Buddha’s hand, kaffir lime and other tropical and sub-tropical plants.  Stroll among the themed gardens and enjoy the heady perfume of the famous Menton citrus.


Abbaye de Sénanque
For almost a thousand years, a community of monks prays and works in Sénanque Abbey, a remarkable example of Cistercian architecture.  Listen to Lauds or Vespers and visit the buildings.  You will also enjoy the surrounding countryside, especially breathtaking in summer when the lavender fields are in bloom.

Discover French Architecture & Gardens

Ancient Roman architecture in Provence
The Romans had a great influence on the south of France, building incredible feats of architecture such as the Maison Carré, the majestic Pont du Gard, and the Roman arenas in Arles and Nimes.  With your local guide and chauffeur, visit these monuments as well as others.

Roman amphitheater in Arles, south of France

Architecture in the valley of the Kings
The Loire Valley houses a wealth of architectural styles and periods.  During your excursion, your local guide will take you on private tours of Chinon and Loches, examples of Mediaeval architecture, and Renaissance chateaux Azay-Le-Rideau, Chambord and Chenonceau, among others.  A must for lovers of architecture.

The chateau of Villandry and its beautiful garden in the Loire Valley

The Paris of Louis XIV, Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon III
Three rulers with three different ideas of urban planning which they all used as a tool to advance their political agendas.  Your local guide will take you to see the major examples of classical, neoclassical, Empire and Hausmannian architecture in Paris, and explain how these three rulers shaped the Paris we know and love today.

Les Invalides in Paris

Normandy gardens
AAV has selected three of the most interesting gardens in Normandy for you.  The garden of the Chateau de Miromesnil is a classical French garden with a twist—the four squares of the garden are vegetables, surrounded by a mixed border of flowers.  The  Jardin de Vasterival contains over 6000 different varieties of plants, ensuring that something exciting is happening all year round.  Close by, the Gardens of Etretat combine lush topiary, architecture and contemporary art.

A garden overlooking Etretat in Normandy
Tailor my Trip

Architecture and Garden
sample itineraries

Architecture and Garden experience in Paris and Loire Valley – 8 days

  • Accommodation for 8 nights in luxury hotels in Paris and the Loire Valley
  • Private driver in luxury vehicle throughout your stay
  • 1st Class train tickets
  • 2 full-days and 1 half-day experiences in Paris with a private expert guide
  • 3 full-days and 1 half-day experiences in the Loire Valley with a private expert guide
  • 1 full-day and 2 half-days at leisure
  • Our AAV Concierge will be available to help you organise your free time with private tours, restaurant reservations, spa treatments, and whatever else you wish to ensure you have a memorable time

Architecture and Garden experience in Paris and its surroundings – 4 days

  • Accommodation for 4 nights in luxury hotels in Paris
  • Private driver in luxury vehicle throughout your stay
  • 2 full-days and 2 half-days experiences in Paris with a private expert guide
  • 2 half-days at leisure
  • Our AAV Concierge will be available to help you organise your free time with private tours, restaurant reservations, spa treatments, and whatever else you wish to ensure you have a memorable time

Discover the wealth of French
architecture and gardens
with AAV

No home – be it a castle or a cottage – would be complete without a garden. Whether parklands designed to impress or a vegetable garden created by necessity, they invariably reflect the time period when they were created, a context which your AAV expert local guide will explain to you.
In Provence, Ancient Roman monuments and Mediaeval monasteries are surrounded by olive trees and lavender fields.  On the French Riviera, buildings from the Belle Époque rub shoulders with exotic gardens and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.  In the Loire Valley, Mediaeval fortified castles and stately Renaissance chateaux 

share the limelight with kitchen gardens, flower gardens and even a fairy garden.  In Normandy, half-timbered houses from the 16th to 19th centuries share the scene with spectacular gardens overlooking the English Channel.
And Paris.  Paris houses so many different architectural styles and beautiful gardens, some well-known and other, private gardens that only insiders know.
On an architecture and garden tour designed by AAV, the luxury travel specialists, you will see the great treasures of French architecture and landscape design, the world’s most enchanting gardens and castles.

your trip

If you wish to schedule a time to speak about the trip you have in mind, please click on the “Tailor my trip” button and fill in our form. We will get back to you very shortly after reception of your request.

Tailor my trip
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