The Fort France Garden is structured around the villa that dates back to 1930. British writer Lady Fortescue, along with her husband, the librarian for King George VI, built the house on terraced land with luxuriant aromatic plants and olive trees. In those earliest days, a rose garden was created and, since that time, the garden has continued to expand.
The garden is best visited from the bottom up by strolling along the terraces. You first gaze upon the trees and perennials from below or from the side, before rising above them to admire them from a loftier perspective.
As you explore the gardens, you also discover the surrounding Grasse landscape of cypress and hills rolling down to the sea. Each terrace has its own botanic curiosities, like the metasequoia glyptostroboides, white and yellow “Banks’” roses stretching up to the army of cypress, mimosa species with staggered blooming seasons, the Distictis buccinatoris, with its exuberant vegetation that surrounds the villa with red tubular flowers, juniper and myrtle pruned into cloud shapes, the pittosporum topiary and box hedges. The garden is in a state of ceaseless evolution with the introduction of new Mediterranean or exotic species and the spontaneous seeding of annuals. It is also a fragrant place, where old-fashioned roses are as sweet as they were in yesteryear, alongside mimosa, datura, marigolds, edichiums, sage, pelargoniums, and more.
Here at Fort France, the word “biodiversity” has true meaning. We do not use chemicals and that has allowed for a flora-fauna equilibrium that respects nature’s rhyme and rhythm, making the garden home to many birds, amphibians, lizards, and other life forms.
Today in the hands of painter Valérie de Courcel, it is a permanent source of inspiration for her works.
In return, she brings all her artistic sensitivity to the garden by her constant search for harmony in the colors and shapes, and the plants’ integration into their environment. An ever-renewing creativity, allied with the ever-surprising creativity of nature, gives the Fort France garden remarkable originality.
• French and English
Groups: 10 persons min/30 persons max
Individual (guided tours):
• First weekend in June (“Rendez-vous aux jardins” event)