- Tuileries, Paris, photographed by Georgianna Lane/Corbis Images
- Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands, photographed by Tadao Yamamoto/Corbis Images
- Huntington, Los Angeles, photographed by Barry Winiker/Corbis Images
- Majorelle, Marrakech, photographed by Noa Griffel
- Central Park, New York, photographed by Andria Patino/Corbis Images
- Lotusland, Santa Barbara, photographed by Noa Griffel
- Joshua Tree, Southeast California, photographed by Steve Lewis Stock/Corbis Images
- Kew Gardens, London, photographed by Robert Harding Productions/Corbis Images
- Giverny, Northern France, photographed by O. Louis Mazzatenta/National Geographic Creative
- Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, French Riviera, photographed by Giancarlo Liguori/Dreamstime
It’s time to stop and smell the roses… and tulips… and peonies.
Here, our favorite places — all across the globe — to do just that.
For the fashion folk, the Tuileries — Paris’ largest and oldest public garden — is also the epicenter of action during fashion week, when houses like Valentino, Vionnet and Dior set up tents inside. For local children, the gardens are filled with limitless options — playgrounds, carousels, trampolines — while for those seeking romance, nothing beats an early evening picnic followed by a sunset ride on the summer Ferris wheel.
Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands
You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped onto the set of The Wizard of Oz when you enter the gates of this Dutch garden, whose seven hundred million flowers blossom in almost unnaturally bright hues — for only eight weeks a year. Although this spot is a must for any botanical fans, tulip lovers will be in nirvana.
Huntington, San Marino, California
Spending a day at San Marino’s Huntington Gardens makes you feel like a distant relative dropped off the keys to his palace and you get to play Queen for the day. It’s no surprise, then, that many Hollywood types looking for the perfect grand estate end up shooting here instead of crossing the pond. Plus, you can can find various Chinese, Japanese, Australian and Shakespearean gardens, even a desert environment — all just a short 40-minute drive from L.A.
Although designed by French expat Jacques Majorelle, the garden and its famed cobalt blue hue were made famous by Yves Saint Laurent, when he chose this serene spot as his respite from the crazy world of Paris couture.
Central Park, New York
Whether it’s a walk around the Reservoir just as the sun is rising or a skate under the stars at Wollman Rink during the holidays, every New Yorker has a favorite way to while away time in one of the few places in Manhattan that’s free and open to those from all walks of life. As far as we’re concerned, life in the concrete jungle wouldn’t be livable without it.
Lotusland, Santa Barbara
There’s something about 37 acres filled with lotus and cacti and overgrown succulents that’s decidedly bold and unexpected. This botanical preserve is an original — much like its creator, the eccentric opera singer and socialite Ganna Walska. It’s particularly striking on a cold foggy day when the mist makes the place feel as though it could be haunted.
Joshua Tree, Southeast California
A desert landscape, dry heat, Seussian trees… this isn’t your classic garden. But amongst the prickly pears and sand dunes, cacti and wildflowers bloom, bringing an unexpected burst of color to the washed-out vista.
Explore the majestic botanical glass houses that can be found throughout London’s famed Kew Gardens. And don’t miss the popular treetop walkway, designed by the same architects who created the London Eye — it’s worth the 118 steps to the top for a truly unparalleled bird’s-eye view.
Giverny, Northern France
If you ever wondered what inspired Claude Monet to reject the convention of painting inside a studio and become a pioneer for Impressionism, we suggest a visit to his home just outside of Paris. As you walk over painted bridges, through fields covered in irises and lavenders and near ponds covered in water lilies, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported into one of his famous canvases.
Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, French Riviera
This palatial estate nestled between Nice and Monaco in an elegant seaside getaway known as Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat was built for banking heiress Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild — to house her enormous art collection. It’s famous for its dramatic views of the Mediterranean, its uniquely pale pink facade and its nine surrounding gardens. The most striking of all is the rose garden, which de Rothschild personally designed herself. There, she planted over 100 varieties of roses — one of which was even named after her.
More to explore in Travel
- Travel Editor J.J. Martin On: Capri & Getaway Packing Tips Mon, Aug 18, 2014
- Travel Insider’s Guide: Joey Wölffer’s Hamptons Sat, Aug 16, 2014
- Travel Getaway: Designer Julia Leach’s Sweden Wed, Aug 13, 2014
- Travel Getaway: Fashionista’s Lauren Sherman on Japan Mon, Aug 11, 2014
- Travel Word of Mouth: The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu Fri, Jul 18, 2014