25 April 2024

Eclectic France

Observations on the sites, sounds and events around France


A Sea of Tulips at Cheverny

The Chateau de Cheverny is well worth a visit at any time of the year. But the annual display of 200,000 flowering tulips at Cheverny makes spring a good time to visit one of the best known Chateaux in the Loire.

The display has been an annual fixture at the Chateau since 2014. When we visited towards the end of March 2019 the tulips were just coming into full bloom. We had no idea what to expect although the images we had seen online website were impressive.

The display did not disappoint although when we arrived it looked a little sparse from a distance across the lawns. But the closer we got the more we could see that the tulips really were an expanse of colour. There were perhaps enough to cover half a football pitch, spread over an area of around 160 x 12 metres. They were located on the edge of the large lawn in front of the Chateau. This was towards the bottom of a gentle slope close to a wooded area with a lake.

Tulips at Cheverny
Tulips at Cheverny

The scale of the landscaping at Cheverny may be what made the display look small from a distance. From closer, and looking up the slight slope with Chateau as a backdrop, one could really see the effect. We had no idea what 200,000 tulips would look like before our visit. But the plants were close enough together to create the sea of colour. It’s this density that makes the difference.

The tulips at Cheverny are just one of the features in the gardens of the Chateau. This splash of spring colour helps to bring in more visitors earlier in the year. But it’s clear that the other parts of the garden, which were only just beginning to show signs of life during our visit, will make a summer or autumn visit just as interesting.

Chateau de Cheverny, Loire, France
Chateau de Cheverny

Like many other chateaux in the region, Cheverny features a mix of formal and informal landscaped sections. The area to the front of the main building has the typical symmetrical layout with paths, gravel, lawn with few plants or bushes. To the rear, the layout is slightly less formal in an area the Chateau calls “The Apprentice’s Garden”. This is also fairly symmetrical but included more planted areas, shrubs and trees, many of which were just about to flower. Elsewhere there are wooded and wildflower areas and there is also a permanent maze with high-standing bay bushes. The extensive kitchen vegetable gardens are also worth a look.

Look out for the fox-hounds. Not everyone’s cup of tea perhaps but it was interesting to see how they happily slept and played together in their kennels. And they barked a lot too.

We also made time to look around the Chateau. It’s large and impressive, of course, with plenty of rooms to explore and special events and activities taking place throughout the year. It’s been open to the public for almost 100 years and was one of the first of the chateaux to welcome visitors.