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 voyage of discovery 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
On the day of arrival, guests will meet at the hotel at 2pm in Montpellier. After a short briefing on the itinerary, the guide will take them on a tour of the cactus greenhouses of the Montpellier botanical garden. There will be a group dinner before participants retire 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 them 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. This is followed by a tour of the village and a lunch together on site. Afterwards, a visit to the flower park of diverse, colourful succulents in Besan. Participants spend the night in Carcassonne.
Day 3: Between cacti and wine
After breakfast and a transfer (about 1h40 min), participants will find themselves in Montolieu, where Nicolas will guide you through his cactus plantation. After the lunch break in the "Village of the Book", the programme includes a visit to the organic winemaker Robert, who will spoil them with a delicious wine tasting in addition to a tour of his vineyards. Participants return to the hotel in Carcassonne.
Day 4 : The botanical paths of Foncaude
Today, the gang visits Dominique's botanical trails. The exotic plants and birds lover will walk you through his small natural paradise. A short transfer after breakfast will take them there. With a little luck you will catch sight of Echniopsis grusonii or Soerhensia Bruchii in full bloom. And if you turn your head towards the sky, you can spot rare species of birds of prey. A wine tasting of the appellation wine AOC Fitou awaits them in the afternoon. Finally, Transfer to the hotel at Port Vendres (takes about 1 hour) for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 5 : Outdoor cacti - coastal walk in the nature reserve of Albères.
In the morning we meet Pierre, responsible for 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, a walk along the coast of the Albères where the group will sight many interesting large specimens such as Agave Americana. Dinner and overnight stay in Port Vendres.
Day 6: Journey home
After breakfast, participants will make themselves on the way home. They can transferred to Montpellier train station or airport.
Subject to change!
Indicated pricing per person in double room occupancy
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 a minibus according to the programme, expert guide to visit 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 (landing category).
This tour is aimed at both plant lovers and intrigued newcomers. The exotic gardens selected for viewing are particularly impressive because of their variety of succulents and cacti. Mediterranean cacti can withstand temperatures down to zero degrees. In mild climatic regions, they can be planted in the wild as a result. Each garden is unique due to regional geography and planter creativity. There are nearly 10,000 species of succulents other than cacti (bearing in mind that there are already about 2,500 species of cacti) distributed in several dozen different families. Agave Americana is a frequently planted species in the Mediterranean where it fits in 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. The Agave Americana became an iconic plant whose fast-growing habit has imposed a presence.
We recommend an eco-friendly journey by train (TGV) to Montpellier. If you are travelling within Europe, we recommend that you arrive by train so as to reduce your carbon footprint.
Airport: Montpellier méditerranée.
General information and tips for travelling to France can be found here.