Hyères: lush garden of the French Riviera
Hyères is literally a garden-town. It has been dubbed “the city of palm trees” due to the large and varied presence of this species along its streets. Beyond the palm trees, one will be charmed by the numerous orange groves casting their enthralling scents throughout the streets. Their lush foliage offers shade all year round. In Hyères, it is not uncommon to witness impromptu orange fights at the time of school recess! In the spring, mimosa trees take over, invading gardens and spilling onto the streets. Flowers here reign uncontested: in the public gardens (a visit to one of Hyères’ four gardens to have received the quality label “Remarkable Gardens” is a required activity) but also on the markets where producers sell roses, anemones and peonies all year round. Flowers are also queens of the greenhouses surrounding the town since Hyères is the most important producer of cut flowers in France.
Take your time to discover the numerous gardens of the city. You will spot trees and plants that passionate 19th botanists brought back from their forlorn journeys.
Around the world in…one day
Overlooking over the old town sprawls the garden of the Castel Sainte-Claire. It was re-designed by the American novelist Edith Wharton when she lived there between 1927 and 1937. An exquisite shelter to seek peace and quiet, it was her “own little piece of heaven” and the presence of subtropical species from South America and Australia guarantees flowers all year-round. From the panoramic terrace one can catch a breathtaking view of the entire town all the way to Porquerolles.
The garden Emmanuel Lopez in Porquerolles
Famous ducks in the garden Olbius Riquier
Step into the garden
Higher up still, the town hosts yet another remarkable garden as the terraced park Saint Bernard stretches downhill starting at the feet of the Villa Noailles. An amateur botanist, Charles de Noailles planted exotic and Mediterranean species there. Smell the rosemary, the myrtle, the acacia and don’t miss the majestic sight of a tercentenary almond tree!
Down below, at the bottom of the old town, the Ancient Royal Gardens invite you for a stroll under their welcoming pergolas. Home to the Tourist Office, the gardens, now lush with Mediterranean species, used to host orange groves. More to the South still, you may continue your botanical exploration by walking to the park Olbius Riquier, located to the South of Ritondale avenue. An old-fashion zoological garden, it provides a shady and relaxing shelter. There you will find many bamboos, Asian plants, palm trees from Chile and the Canaries as well as a handsome collection of cacti and agaves. The park also offers numerous activities for children: pony rides, carousel, a little train and many animals to look at.
A walk in the garden Olbius Riquier