The Garden of the Hesperides invites the visitor to embark on a journey to the land of fruits and to take an enjoyable, unusual and informative stroll there.
It is a living museum in honour of fruits from the five continents of the world and is divided into eight different themes – the Garden of Loire-Atlantique, Garden of the World, Garden of New Fruits, Garden of Wild Fruits, Neolithic Garden, Mediterranean Garden, Botanists’ Fruit Garden and the Strawberry Garden. The Garden of the Hesperides enables you to discover the diversity of the plant world, which goes hand in hand with that of the human world.
It was created in 1997 by fruit lovers and inaugurated in 2002 by Jean-Marie Pelt, a leading European biologist and author of several books on fruits. Today, a large number of fruits can be found here and the garden is regarded as one of the most beautiful in France. The fruit trees – all of which bear edible fruits – are arranged in an unusual manner. Throughout the complete visit, which lasts for almost one and a half hours, the visitor finds shapes and tastes which are unknown or almost forgotten.
There are eight different themes: the Garden of Loire-Atlantique, Garden of the World,Garden of New Fruits,Garden of Wild Fruits, Neolithic Garden, Mediterranean Garden, the Botanists’ Fruit Garden and the Strawberry Garden. Along the way, the visitor learns everything about the fruits and their history as well as the symbolism of more than 200 different fruit trees. This fertile spot, which is rich in knowledge and full of charms, takes the visitor on a wonderful journey through space and time.
onsumers generally have a conflictive relationship with fruits (loss of sense of flavour, a limited selection in shops, industrial production of fruit etc.). This garden shows the visitor what a fruit is, how it can be selected and discussed, and last but not least, how it can be enjoyed.
Garden of Loire-Atlantique: varieties of fruits which originate in the region are gathered here. These varieties of apples, pears, peaches, cherries and strawberries have been forgotten due to new methods of cultivation, the development of special plantations and selective marketing.
Garden of the World: the history of fruits has accompanied the history of civilisations since the beginning of mankind. Each fruit has its regional home and history, which may be turbulent, curious or comical. The Phoenician, Roman and Arabic cultures, the silk and spice routes, the crusades, the expeditions and the human thirst for adventure have contributed to the spread of plants and fruit trees beyond their countries of origin.
Garden of New Fruits: the large variety and great richness of the plant world mean that it can still inspire us to find numerous ways of exploring it enthusiastically. Its tremendous adaptability favours the appearance of new species of fruits. From new varieties and human intervention into natural processes to the magic of life with astonishing and fantastic surprises – nature continues to provide us with everything in profusion.
Garden of Wild Fruits: fruits of every colour and size can be found here as well as fruits from all the seasons. The wild fruits shimmer brightly along the paths or more discreetly in the undergrowth or woods. Before fruits were actually cultivated, knowledge about them was passed on empirically – about their utilisation, their therapeutic effects and culinary uses as well as their possible poisonousness properties. This garden, however, only has edible plants.
Neolithic Garden: Mankind has always collected fruits for nourishment. Probably born in the Tropics, the early humans knew how to deal with the resources surrounding them. They collected the countless fruits which the vegetation of this particularly favourable climate provided in abundance. Most people today are unaware of or have forgotten about this practice of collecting fruits, which has a long tradition stretching back to the beginning of mankind. The basis for nutrition was obtained from the plant world and this was protected to ensure its continued existence.
Mediterranean Garden: geobotanic studies have shown that the Mediterranean region had a relatively narrow variety of fruits. The region experienced the emergence of pistachio and carob trees, of wild cherry and rowan trees, but most of the citrus fruits are of Asian origin. As many types of fruits found favourable conditions for their development in this region, they have adapted perfectly. Thanks to this acclimatisation, the Mediterranean region today can truly be regarded as a region of fruits.
The Botanists’ Fruit Garden: the distinction between vegetables and fruit is complex. While the consumer differentiates between plants which are generally eaten with salt and those which are eaten with sugar, scientists categorise plants according to their biological classification.
Strawberry Garden: strawberry plants are herbaceous and can be found on all continents. Their Latin name fragaria comes from the verb fragare, which means to be fragrant. The strawberry, which possesses numerous therapeutic and nutritional properties, occurs in numerous mythologies. It is a singular fruit. The actual fruits of the strawberry plants are, in fact, the achenes, which are distributed on the surface of the red pulp.
Owner and management:
Monsieur Besseas and Monsieur Lopes
From 1st Mai until 15th October, a guided tour starts at 16:00 from Tuesday until Saturday. Reservation required.
Same period, guided tours on Sunday start at 10:30, 15:00 and 17:00. Reservation required.
Groups are asked to contact the garden as given above.
Please note: access is by guided tours only.
Adults 7.60 €, children 4.10 €, groups start at 5.90 € p.p.
- Tea Room: Light snacks and drinks served at the terrace.
- Shop: yes, with local products and fresh fruits
- Toilets: yes
- Picnic site: terrace.
- Avarage visiting duration: 90 minutes
- Accessibility: yes
- For children: special tours, courses etc.
Most plants and trees are labelled and signs are explaining each garden section. No maps etc. as visits are by guided tours only.