Flower Power: an Exclusive Preview of Les Floralies in Vendée



Flower Power: an Exclusive Preview of Les Floralies in Vendée

Enjoy a exclusive preview of Les Floralies Internationales, one of France’s most celebrated horticultural festivals, which take places in the Vendée this May.

It’s France’s equivalent of the Chelsea Flower Show, only a lot more ambitious. When the horticultural festival Les Floralies Internationales was first staged back in 1956, it focused purely on gardens, flowers and plants. Over the years, though, it has evolved to include horticultural art and culture as well, and has cemented its place as one of the most important horticultural events anywhere in the world.

It runs every five years and this year, the 13th edition takes place in Montréverd, just south of Nantes, in the Vendée. “Les Floralies has become an essential meeting place for the world of plants,” the festival organisers explain. “Over the last 12 editions, more than 60 countries have been represented by ornamental displays and events.”

This year’s festival runs from May 17 to 26 at the Domaine de la Chabotterie, a beautiful 15th- century château and surrounding estate near the village of Saint-Sulpice-le-Verdon. Visitors will be able to view the many displays while wandering through the domaine’s winding pathways, hedge- lined lawns, orchards, meadows, woods and even a maze. There are both kitchen gardens and ornamental gardens, with medicinal plants and more than 120 different varieties of flowers.

“It is in this unique, unspoilt 48-hectare natural environment – a splendid green theatre – that the Floralies Internationales partners will be able to express their creativity and demonstrate their talents,” the organisers add. “The charm of the site provides an ideal setting for an authentic experience, as close to nature as possible.”

Chambre de l’Agriculture et de la Pêche Lagonaire PolynÃ, ©sie Française

The theme for this year’s festival is jeux de fleurs (flower games), in honour of the Olympic Games which are taking place in Paris later this summer. There will be five different strands within the overarching theme. The first is water games, where wetland and aquatic plants will be displayed among various water walls, fountains and aqueducts. Then there are children’s games, where brightly-coloured and scented plants are designed to “take visitors on a trip down memory lane back to their childhood”. Next are intellectual games, where some of the festival’s more unorthodox and curious plants will be juxtaposed with various puzzles, riddles and word games. Garden games will use optical illusions, contrast and perspective to showcase the plants in that section. Finally, there are physical games, where, alongside some of the more imaginative plants on display, visitors will be encouraged to take part in sport and physical challenges. So whatever your age and interests, there is bound to be something to delight at this carefully thought-out event.

Two regulars from the Domaine de La Chabotterie who will be especially busy when the festival opens to visitors are the head gardener and the head chef.

Estate gardens

It’s Quentin Le Gouedec who is the green-fingered of the two. “The type of environment that most inspires me is the kitchen garden, with its edible and ornamental plants mixed in complete harmony,” he says. “The whole idea being to create beauty from the mundane. That’s exactly what we have at La Chabotterie, where vegetables, fruits, herbs and ornamental plants all grow alongside one another.”

In the kitchen, meanwhile, is the appropriately- named chef Benjamin Patissier. Along with his wife, Audrey, he runs the Michelin-starred restaurant La Chabotterie. “We’ve prepared a special menu for the occasion, focused around plants,” he says. “There will be loads of vegetables, but also flowers and rare aromatic herbs. There’s also a meat dish, but again with a plant focus to it.”

He points out how his nearby kitchen garden allows him to be self-sufficient in wild herbs, flowers and plants for up to eight months of the year. “Using these herbs and plants, we make lots of flavoured vinegars and oils, ice creams, infusions and coulis.” Patissier is also working with a florist to ensure his restaurant’s décor has a floral theme to it for the festival.

One of the festival highlights will be a stage show put on every evening throughout the ten days. Entitled La Lyriade Florale, it will fuse poetry with nature “in a symphony of enchanting colours and fragrances”. Festival tickets are €17.50 (€8.50) and you’re advised to allow four to six hours for your visit.

From France Today Magazine

Floralies essentials


The 13th Floralies Internationales will take place from May 17 to 26, 2024 at La Chabotterie, an estate near Saint-Sulpice-le-Verdon, just under 50km south of Nantes, in the Vendée.


La Chabotterie, Saint-Sulpice-le-Verdon, 85260 Montréverd

Online tickets cost €17.50 for adults, €8.50 for children.


is 30 minutes The A83 autoroute is nearby. Nantes is by car, while Paris is four hours away. The nearest airport, Nantes Atlantique, is served by easyjet flights from London Gatwick and Bristol, and by Ryanair from London Stansted, Edinburgh and Manchester.




Share to:  Facebook  Twitter   LinkedIn   Email

More in Floralies, flower show, Spring events, Vendée

Previous Article French Restaurant Review: Eunoé, Paris
Next Article The Gardens of Versailles, A Timeless Wonder

Related Articles

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *