I recently read an article in Figaroscope about the rose garden at Val-du-Marne, and the photos looked so beautiful I had to visit it myself. Founded in 1894 by Jules Gravereaux (who helped start up the Bon Marché), this roseraie was the first garden dedicated entirely to roses, and is organized into 13 different collections which feature 3,300 different species and 16,000 individual rose bushes. I have never seen anything like this, and it is breathtaking. The roseraie itself is actually a part of a larger park with lots of open green spaces and other flowers and trees. As soon as I entered this park I could smell the roses: there are so many of them, and they are so fragrant! I made my way past a few beds of roses, like those pictured in the left corner, and a few minutes later I had arrived at the true rose garden, which you must pay to enter: Gorgeous. A detail of the rotunda: The funniest things about all the roses were their names. There was the Catherine Deneuve rose, the Christian Dior, the Le Cid, countless royalty and poets and playwrights and scientists (Marie Curie), and surprisingly even some companies had their own roses, like Lancôme and France Info.
There were endless trellis-lined paths, each brighter and fuller than the next:
Hidden statues:Sorry for the picture overload, but they'll probably better convey the beauty than anything I could say. Given the incredible scenery, quite a few visitors came with wedding portraits on their minds, and on this day I saw no less than three different bridal parties! At about 45 minutes outside of Paris, this is off the beaten path yet not too far away; the ideal place for a picnic, or just a lazy afternoon reading in the sun. Every Sunday in June they also have free concerts. This year's theme is sub-saharan Africa, with the activities starting at 16h and the concerts at 17h.
Roseraie du Val-de-Marne
Rue Albert Watel
01 47 40 04 04
Open daily from Mid-May - Mid-September, 10 - 20h.
3€/1.50€ entrance fee; 0.75€ for a guided tour.
From RER B station Bourg-la-Reine, take the bus 192 or 172 (check schedules here)
From Metro Porte d'Italie (°7), take the 184, 186, or 286