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Abbaye de Valsaintes
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: garden, a church, a land of memory Perched at a height of 600 m in the middle of a vast natural bowl which has been known as the « vallee de l’Absinthe » (wormwood valley) since high antiquity, the abbey watches over a land which has been sacred since Prehistoric times. On this sandstone spur, the Cistercian abbey of Valsaintes, inhabited by monks from XIIth century to the French Revolution, has an unusual garden as its neighbour (which was certified by the French Ministry of Culture in July 2011). The old dry-stone terraces host a rich spontaneous vegetation to which we have added a collection of 500 varieties of roses, bulbs, hardy perennials, annuals, plants suited to the dry soil, trees, shrubs and vegetables. Vegetable, mineral and wild life all live in harmony with Man and 100% natural gardening. When you come to see the garden, you can also visit the completely restored XVIIth century abbey church. Artefacts, such as the archaic solar calendar, show the passage of all those who have marked this historic place. A timeless stroll…in a garden like no other!
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
293 reviews
125 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
Reviewed June 26, 2012

It's four years since we last visited this site and it has continued to develop by leaps and bounds. With over 400 different varieties of roses in a range of different gardens, it is a place where you can spend hours just wandering about. Take a picnic - you can come and go from the big carpark all day as the nearest eating places are in Simiane la Rotonde. The best time to visit is mid may to mid june when the roses are at their best although it will always be a relaxing experience. There is no attempt to regiment the plants and everything seems to be in its natural place. Much credit is due to the enthusiasm and skill of the head gardener who also runs the pepiniere (selling roses!) adjacent to the garden.
The restored church in the grounds is a lovely peaceful place with connections to prehistory.For those with euros to spend, there is an attractive gift shop.

Visited June 2012
Thank Ewingston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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63 reviews from our community

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English first
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
“A stunningly beautiful rose garden plus interesting church & surroundings.”
Reviewed June 18, 2012

Don't miss the gardens of the Abbaye de Valsainte if you are in the area in May or June and love roses. It is an enchanting place to spend a morning or afternoon with plenty of interesting seating areas where you can relax and enjoy the scent of the roses. If you are lucky, you may coincide with a free demonstration (in French) of how to propagate roses by cuttings, grafting & layering.
The entry fee includes an informative free booklet and plan of the garden (available in English). The booklet also includes a list of all the plants in the gardens. The gardens were created in 1996 on ground which once belonged to the old Cistercian abbey, and they have been enlarged and improved every year since then. As well other plants, there are over 400 varieties of roses. They originally planted over 600 varieties but these have been now been reduced to those that are best able to tolerate drought and disease. The plants are all clearly labelled and there is also a rose nursery close by where many of the varieties of roses are available for sale. Take a picnic because there is nowhere on site to buy any food or drink.
The 17th century church has been restored and can be visited.

Visited June 2012
Thank Alekto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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