Tourism - Exceptional Parks and Gardens

Exceptional Parks and Gardens


The parks and gardens tell us the story and the desires of its inhabitants. They organized and decorated them to their image, and so created sumptuous parks and gardens.


The Renaissance sees the apogee of the formal French gardens. These gardens are open spaces characterized by straight lines, the geometrical floors being laid out symmetrically on both sides of the main axis. They express the desire of mankind to dominate the nature. Water flows in channels, fills basins and spouts out fountains. The small trees are cut and the large ones, aligned, border the alleys.
The labyrinths of greenery appear with the Middle Ages and are very present starting from the Renaissance.
The art of topiary (trimming of the plants into geometrical figures or animal silhouettes) will develop at the beginning of the 17th century.
Sometimes elements of the Italian Renaissance are added: statues inspired by Antiquity, caves and exploitation of the surrounding landscape, giving to the garden a more “theatrical” aspect.

In reaction to this artificial symmetry are born, in the 18th century in the United Kingdom, the picturesque English gardens with their extended lawns, sinuous routes, bouquets, seemingly not domesticated vegetation, the exploitation of the uneven ground, and the variation of the foliages of the various trees, giving to these gardens a more "natural" and "wild" aspect. The use of curves and roundings oppose to the straight lines of the French gardens.

The parks and gardens became places of leisure and discovery of their beauties.
They invite us to visit the work of the landscape architects of the past centuries, or simply for some dreaming and escaping.

We propose you the visit of parks and gardens in the area.

Excursion to Annevoie, Freÿr and Chevetogne

09:00 - Departure from Dinant for Annevoie

09:30 - Accompanied visit of the Gardens of Annevoie

The Gardens of Annevoie are a true pearl in a casket of greenery. These Gardens, where the splendour and majesty of the French style mix harmoniously with English romanticism and Italian refinement, have been designed to unveil their treasures only little by little, gradually as the walk goes along, and to lead you from one surprise to another, along with the extraordinary diversity in contrasts.

A walk surrounded by cascades and fountains, majestic hundred-year old trees, neatly trimmed hornbeam lanes, false grottoes, old times’ extravagancies, and flat (typically Walloon) statues. The result of the passion of a man who fell in love with the region. A unique setting where the waters have been flowing non-stop for the last 250 years and without any machinery.

Major heritage of Wallonia, gifted with two stars in the Michelin guide.

10:30 - Departure from Annevoie for Freÿr

11:00 - Accompanied visit of the Gardens of Freÿr

  • Starting in 1760, the Renaissance gardens were redrawn in
    classical style inviting to meditation
    by canon William of Beaufort-Spontin.
  • They release a captivating atmosphere when looking at
    • the grass-beds under the shadow of the lime trees,
    • while listening to the peaceful song of the fountains and breathing the fragrance of the orange trees ,
      most of which originated from the Court of Lorraine and are nearing 350 years .
  • In winter, these trees are kept in the oldest orangeries of the Low Countries.
  • From 1770, Philip, youngest brother of William
    enlarged the gardens
    • by drawing a second major axis perpendicular to the Meuse
    • and terraced on the hillside up to the Frederic Hall, a small Belvedere, Rococo masterwork with refined stucco of the Brothers Moretti.
  • This second axis unfolds
    • a garden in the style of Le Nôtre
    • and surrounded by intimist mazes (6km) made of hornbeam hedges.

12:15 - Departure from Freÿr for the Domain of Chevetogne (via the point of view on the Castle of Freÿr and the Meuse valley)

13:15 - Lunch at the Domain of Chevetogne

14:45 - Guided visit of the park and gardens of Chevetogne

The park of Chevetogne offers a beautiful landscape diversity with, on one hand, its wild side and, on the other hand, a more refined side which are reflected in the heart of 12 gardens.
Each garden evokes a different topic, an “elsewhere”, which will stimulate the thoughts of the visitors and induce different feelings:

  • the garden of the Esplanade
  • the landscape park
  • the woodland garden
  • the hedge garden 
  • the Félicien Rops garden or the kitchen garden of the desire
  • the Hervé Bazin garden 
  • the garden of medicinal plants
  • the Madness of Brambles garden 
  • the garden of the Unicorns
  • the Japanese garden of the NEM or the Zen garden

17:00 - Departure from Chevetogne for Dinant

17:45 - Arrival Dinant





- excursion intended for the small groups (minimum 12 pers) by coach departing from Dinant (except otherwise arranged)
- visits accompanied or guided, depending on the place
- equipment: walking shoes and protection adapted to the weather
- accessible to all with a normal physical condition

For those interested, we also can offer a private tour by van to Claude Monet's House and Gardens in Giverny (France), suitable for a small group (up to 7 people) out of Brussels (unless otherwise arranged).
After extensive restauration of the house, the studios, the Clos Normand flower garden and the Water Garden, one can now revive the private universe of the leader of the Impressionist School, who lived there from 1883 to 1926.
His house regained its atmosphere and charm of past times, complete with his amazing collection of Japanese drawings.
In front of the house and studios, the Clos Normand offers the vision of a painter-gardener with its strict geometric layout and vivid colours.
The water garden directly inspired Claude Monet's monumental work of art "Grandes Décorations des Nymphéas".
The vast Nymphéas (waterlilly) studio is nowadays the Claude Monet Foundation giftshop.
This tour is possible every day from the 1st of April to the 31st of October.
It is highly recommended to consider a two days tour.
Day 1: travel from Brussels to Giverny (which is a good 4hr15' drive) in the morning, and spend the afternoon visiting Claude Monet's property.
Day 2: free time to visit by foot the charming village of Giverny and its Musée des Impressionnismes, and drive back to Brussels after lunch.
(Option: return to Brussels via Etretat).

Note that Giverny can also be used as starting point for a multi-day discovery tour to Normandy including
Vernon - Les Andelys - Pont-L'Evêque - Lisieux (basilica) - Livarot (cheese) - Caudray-Rabut (calvados distillery) - Caen (Memorial) - the Landing Beaches (from Arromanches to Pointe du Hoc) - Bayeux (tapestry) and back to Caen (or Crépon) - Honfleur - the impressive Normandy Bridge - Etretat - Fécamp.
Than back to Brussels, or combine with a tour to The Somme, Ypres, Bruges ...

Infos and reservations:

Scenic Tours sprl

Chaussée Romaine, 10
B-5500 Dinant

phone/fax: +32- (0) 82-21 96 37
GSM: +32- (0) 475-24 26 50

Skype: scenic-tours
skype Scenic Tours

Creation date : 19/04/2009 @ 15:21
Last update : 24/01/2013 @ 16:16
Category : Tourism

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