This unconventional garden themed trip to the south of France takes you to exotic gardens and cactus plantations in the southernmost region of France. Organic wine tastings on this trip to France also make for a culinary experience!
This discovery trip is aimed at all lovers of exotic plants and exceptional specialities. Experience a wide variety of cacti and succulents in the wild. Agaceae, Opuntia, Lithops, Astrophytum, Mediterranean Euphorbia and other Trichocereus are among the many species that grow here in the mild Mediterranean climate. Stopovers at winegrowers and encounters with local plant experts round off the tour of unconventional gardens.
Day 1: Arrival
Meeting at the hotel at 2pm in Montpellier. After a short briefing on the itinerary, the guide will take you a tour of the cactus greenhouses of the Montpellier botanical garden. Group dinner before retiring for the night.
Day 2: Mediterranean garden in Roquebrun
The morning starts with a short transfer towards Roquebrun, a medieval village (approx. 1hr 22min), to meet Christophe, a botanist of exotic plants. He will introduce you to a world of exotic plant species which have been growing there since the end of the 18th century thanks to the mild climate, such as Agaveae, Opuntia and small succulents. Tour of the village and a lunch together on site. Visit to the flower park in Besan, covered in diverse, colourful succulents. Overnight stay in Carcassonne.
Day 3: Between cacti and wine
After breakfast, transfer (about 1h40 min) to Montolieu, where Nicolas will guide you through his cactus plantation. After lunch, the programme includes a visit to the organic winemaker Robert, who will offer you a delicious wine tasting and a tour of his vineyards. Participants return to the hotel in Carcassonne.
Day 4 : Botanical paths and Fitou wine tasting
Visit the botanical trails of Dominique, an exotic plant and bird lover, who will walk you through his small natural paradise. With a little luck you will catch sight of Echniopsis grusonii or Soerhensia Bruchii in full bloom, and if you look at the sky, you might sight some rare species of birds of prey. A Fitou wine tasting (Protected Designation of Origin) awaits you in the afternoon. Finally, transfer to the hotel at Port Vendres (1 hour) for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 5 : Outdoor cacti - coastal walk in the nature reserve of Albères.
Meet Pierre, the manager of parks and green areas in the city of Port Vendres. The city has long since decided to plant only succulents & cacti, suited to the dry Mediterranean climate. The numerous large desert plants (especially Trichocereus, Aloes Thraskii, aloe Marlothii...) will be in the spotlight. After lunch, walk along the coast of the Albères where you will sight many interesting specimens such as Agave Americana. Dinner and overnight stay in Port Vendres.
Day 6: Journey home
After breakfast, transfer to Perpignan train station or airport.
Subject to change!
Indicated pricing per person in double room occupancy
Surcharge for single room: +€250
We will gladly arrange further dates for parties of 8 or more.
Travel period: spring or autumn
5 nights in a double room incl. half board, English-speaking guide, 1x lunch, transfers in minibus according to the programme, expert guide for visits to the gardens, entrance fees, visitor's tax.
Trip guaranteed from 8 persons onwards (16 max.)
This trip is not suitable for persons with reduced mobility
Last possibility of cancellation by the tour operator: 21 days prior to the tour
Overnight stay in 3-star hotels. Surcharge for single room: +€250
This tour is aimed at both plant lovers and onlookers. The selected exotic gardens are particularly impressive because of their great variety of succulents and cacti. Mediterranean cacti can withstand temperatures down to zero degrees. Each garden is unique due to regional geography and planter´s creativity. There are nearly 10,000 species of succulents and 2,500 species of cacti, distributed in a dozen different families. Agave Americana is a frequently planted species in the Mediterranean where it fits very naturally in the dry landscape. Agave is very well adapted to the Mediterreanean climate that has become very dry due to climate change, marked by lower rainfall during the summer and longer periods of drought.
We recommend an eco-friendly journey by train (TGV) to Montpellier.
Closets airport: Montpellier méditerranée. Get back from the TGV railway station of Perpignan ( access from Boulevard Saint Assiscle)
General information and tips for travelling to France can be found here.