Let’s take a day to escape to the Pithiviers rose gardens and admire the heirloom roses, as well as those bred by André Ève, each one more beautiful than the last.
June is the perfect time to spend a day in Pithiviers and discover the gardens and rose gardens. Lovers of roses, did you know that a major rose breeder lived in this city for several years and breathed new life into the heirloom rose economy?
A morning that smells like new discoveries
On a Saturday morning, we will head to Pithiviers town centre and push open a pretty little decorated wood door. There, you will discover André Ève private garden, a magnificent haven of greenery hidden in the heart of Pithiviers. It's one of the most beautiful rose gardens in the area.
I will be happy to welcome you there for a guided tour, in which I will share stories of the garden and its creator, André Ève. You will discover a true paradise, combining rose bushes and perennials, which revolutionised the history of gardens. I am sure you will learn a lot about rose bushes, heirloom roses, species roses, rose families, roses bred by André Ève, and much more! You will also discover the star perennials of the garden: “coral bells”, "hostas", “hardy geraniums”, and many more.
The heart of the town of Pithiviers
After the tour, you'll be leaving with a smile on your face and a head full of ideas for your own garden.
Walk back to Pithiviers town centre and wander down the pedestrian-only Rue de la Couronne, lined with half-timbered houses. Then, cross Place des Halles, taking a moment to enjoy the market stands and say “bonjour” to the producers.
Next, head to the town hall garden to observe, on one side, Saint-Georges Collegiate Church and on the other, the roof of the Château of Ardoise. Take a moment to slip into Saint-Salomon - Saint-Grégoire Church and admire the superb organ build by famous organ specialist, Jean-Baptiste Isnard.
Have you worked up an appetite on this little getaway to Pithiviers? Head out of the town centre for lunch at the restaurant La Scala, which is part of the Route de la Rose. There, you can enjoy traditional or Italian cuisine, as you prefer. The owner is an old friend of André Eve, so you can always hear a delightful anecdote. What’s more, some of his rose varieties welcome you at the entrance to the restaurant.
And for dessert, how about a piece of melt-in-your-mouth Pithiviers cake?
An idyllic second half of your day in the Pithiviers rose gardens
In the afternoon, visit Morailles Rose Garden in Pithiviers-le-Vieil, the second garden created by André Ève and another wonderful Pithiviers rose garden. Enter this rose garden with exceptional heritage, which is bigger than his private garden. One game we often play is trying to find the roses we saw earlier, but with over 600 heirloom roses, it's not easy!
In the shade of a pergola, where a superb rambler rose climbs, make sure you stop to enjoy the present moment and all the beautiful fragrances in the air. After a delightful stroll, step into the tearoom where various DIY workshops are on offer, including one where you can make your own vial of highly aromatic rose syrup! After the workshop, I often sit down for a cup of sweet almond white tea, to soak in this poetic place a little longer.
To finish off the day...
... we're heading to “Andre Ève's Heirloom Roses” rose garden in Chilleurs-aux-Bois. After walking around the recently established rose garden, why not take the opportunity to buy some roses for your own garden? Don’t forget the perennials as well of course, the perfect companion for rose bushes.
With the advice of a passionate, enthusiastic sales assistant, you might choose an “Andre Ève, le jardinier des roses” rose bush to brighten up your flower bed. This modern rose was created by the company to honour the memory of André Ève. It has bright pink double blooms with a pleasant scent.
For a pergola, I would recommend a clematis and the “Roville” rose bush, one of André Ève’s varieties. It’s a rambler with large, simple, pink blooms that flowers continuously. And lastly, to provide a lovely fragrance to your garden’s atmosphere, you could pick up the famous “Red Parfum”!
A day spent in the Pithiviers rose gardens will always be a memorable experience, full of colours and fragrances. You can continue the adventure by following the Route de la Rose in Loiret.
Handy tips: Tours of the Pithiviers rose gardens generally take place between June and September, in the morning, and last from 1 to 1.5 hours.
Head to the Tourist Office for more information and dates of guided tours of André Ève’s private garden.
Make sure you book in advance at the Grand Pithiverais Tourist Office, as spots are limited and quickly booked out!
Morailles Rose Garden is free to visit, just a few kilometres from Pithiviers. For the workshops, it’s a good idea to book in advance. All attendees take home their own vial of rose syrup.
Pithiviers Market takes place on Place des Halles every Wednesday and Saturday morning. To visit Pithiviers, you can follow the town’s discovery trail, available at the Tourist Office, or download the Grand Pithiverais France Touristic app.