Jardin botanique Val Rahmeh-Menton
Open every day, except Tuesdays
In Menton, the real stars are the plants... In the warmth of the famous Côte d'Azur resort, an exotic botanical garden with a preserved soul and intoxicating charm, flourishes between science and sensual delight.
Luxury, calm and pleasure
Push open the gate of the Val Rahmeh and breathe... There, in the shady alleys and dense foliage, in the coolness of the fountains and ponds, you will find a 1.5 hectare haven of peace, which owes its original layout to its gradual development. New species and varieties have been introduced in small increments until they reach 1,700 taxa, while maintaining the order necessary for a botanical garden, where the plants are rigorously identified. A graceful, organised confusion that the park's successive owners would not have disliked and which gives this place an extra soul.
Summer is early
Greece, Africa, the Canaries, China, Mexico, New Caledonia, New Zealand... the plants in Val Rahmeh come from tropical and subtropical countries. It goes without saying that these timid plants appreciate the unique microclimate - between the mountains and the sea - that the garden enjoys! However, they have very different needs and are therefore divided into different areas. At the entrance, the tropical environment - both dry (agaves, cacti, etc.) and wet (bamboos, tree ferns, etc.) - is in the spotlight. Further on, you can see the plants from the Mediterranean climate, with olive trees in the limelight. Finally, at the end of the garden, lotuses and giant water lilies bloom in a pond, not far from Australian plants.
Plants and men
Plants are indispensable to us. You will be convinced of this after your visit to the exotic botanical garden in Menton. The reason? The many food, medicinal or even magical species that populate the lanes of the estate. Avocado trees, papaya trees, guava trees, banana trees, palm trees, passionflowers, citrus trees and a vegetable garden reveal their delicious treasures. And in two dedicated areas, American food plants on the one hand, and a selection of spices, condiments and herbs on the other, can be discovered. A mouth-watering experience...
It is impossible to talk about this place without mentioning its successive owners. Sir Percy Radcliffe settled here in 1905 with his wife, Rahmeh ("tranquillity" in Arabic-Persian), after whom the estate is named. He added buildings to the original house, bought adjoining farmland and added a beautiful palm avenue to the entrance. In 1957, Miss Maybud Campbell, a wealthy English eccentric, acquired the property. She increased the size of the garden by adding the lower grounds, which now contain the pond with its giant lotus and water lilies. She was a keen flower lover and brought superb ornamental plants to the garden. In 1966, the management of the estate was entrusted to the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, which turned it into a botanical garden and created a research centre. Today, Val Rahmeh plays an important role in the acclimatisation of exotic plants, in addition to the conservation of threatened species. So, do you have itchy feet yet?
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