🌻 Le Jardin des Cimes is a truly 🌷 magical garden at altitude, with breathtaking views of 🏔 the Mont Blanc Massif.
🌻 Le Jardin des Cimes (“ Garden of the Summits ”) has revitalised the area of Plateau d’Assy; not only are the gardens and ☕️ café a delight for locals and tourists alike, but jobs have been created and there are plenty of activities and 🌲workshops on offer for families and schools, as well as plentiful 🎵 cultural and mindful activities for adults.
These very special gardens have captured our imagination on each of our visits and our children are always eager to show it off to our visitors; 🌻 Le Jardin des Cimes never loses its charm and each season brings new surprises! On offer are: the parcours of the gardens (route through the gardens – fun and pedagogic); guided visits of the gardens; ☕️ the café; 📚 the (newly expanded) bookshop; 🎨 workshops for children & adults; and special events during the summer months (🧘♂️yoga, tai chi,🍷 Friday apéros, 🎵 concerts . . . ).
The website says:
🌻 “ A unique place of nature and culture, the « Jardin des Cimes » is an invitation to discover nature, mountains, kitchen gardens and landscaped gardens during a leisurely stroll of an hour and a half. Visit the heart of the alpine world and gardens of the world, whilst enjoying the visual displays and audible effects along the way, the gardens offer exceptional views along a route that is both sensory and educational. Accessible to all, on your own, as part of a group or as a family, the «Jardin des Cimes» pays special attention to our disabled guests or those with reduced mobility ”.
A family visit to Le Jardin des Cimes
It is a short walk from the car park up to the entrance to the 🌻 Jardin des Cimes, which sits at 1000m altitude and covers an expanse of 6 acres.
Just after the entrance to the gardens is the ☕️ Café du Jardin, and then the ticket office, small shop, special play area with a magnificent view and the amphitheatre. Here there is plenty of space for little ones to play.
The start of the parcours is from the ticket office, and the visitor starts his / her journey through the Porte de l’Ombre, a verdant green tunnel. The route then takes visitors through an imagined ascent through different mountain terrain, from the valley floor to the glaciers of the high summits, with interactive, sensory and creative touches along the way. The visitor finishes his / her journey in the Potagers du Monde, for a bit of the exotic!
Every year, the 🌻 Jardin des Cimes adds to its cultural and mindfulness agenda . . . this year, there will be some 🌳 tree climbing and relaxation in the trees . . . check the website for the 2019 agenda.
On the opening weekend of the gardens this year – the weekend of 25th & 26th May 2019 – is the « Folies Végétales » – a marché aux plantes, guided visits . . .
Workshops for Children
The 🌻 Jardin des Cimes offers workshops for children (🍃 Le petit’atelier jardin du mercredi – past workshops have included LandArt, scarecrow-making, in search of butterflies, giant Mikado sticks from wood foraged . . . ) and works closely with schools and garderies / see here for more details about what’s on offer this 2019 season;
LandArt creations from a school visit:
Places to Eat
☕️ Le Café du Jardin – over the summer months, this lovely café & restaurant is open to the public. I have been for lunch and cake here – the locally-sourced and beautifully-presented food is delicious! / 🗓 opening hours: open midday Tuesday to Friday (mid-June to mid-September) and then every lunchtime in July and August; also open Friday evenings from June until September / see here for more details / booking is advised on: +33 (04) 50 21 50 87;
🍏 picnics – 🌻 Le Jardin des Cimes also has a picnic area in the shade, so you are welcome to bring your own food.
Pushchairs and wheelchairs
A joëlette (a one-wheeled chair that is carried by 2 assistants) allows total access to the site and is available upon request. Entry is free of charge for the attendants of the wheelchair user.
A good all-terrain pushchair, that manoeuvres up and down easy mountain paths, is adequate for full access to the gardens.
A visit to the 🌻 Jardin des Cimes can combine nicely with other activities up on the Plateau d’Assy or Plaine-Joux (or if you have a family or friend group with different wishes for the day!):
💦 Lac Vert (Plaine-Joux) – is a short drive away / for more details, see here ;
🌳 Passy Plain’Wood accrobranches ® & parapentes take-off (Plaine-Joux) – capers in the trees, plenty of green space for running, or just sit and watch parapentistes taking off!
Via Ferrata de la Curalla – spectacular!
Plateau d’Assy sanitoriums – driving back down to the valley floor through Plateau d’Assy, you can’t miss the 1930s tuberculosis sanitoriums: huge and often garishly coloured buildings on bends of the road (some are still in use for medical purposes or have been transformed into apartments or holiday centres), and then on the plateau itself you’ll see many that are in a state of total or half-abandon . . . Plateau d’Assy is a fascinating place, rich in both medical and also art history, and it is worth exploring! (more information here).
⛪️ Notre-Dame de Toute Grâce (Plateau d’Assy) – this beautiful church was built in 1937, during the heyday of the sanitoriums, and was referred to as the « l’église des malades ». It was made famous by the work of several renowned artists: the façade’s mosaic was created by painter and ceramist Fernand Léger; Georges Braque added a bronze tabernacle and Marc Chagall a baptistery. You’ll also see some unique sculptures gracing bends in the road on the drive from Passy chef-lieu to Plateau d’Assy.
🗺 hikes – you can leave directly from the 🌻 Jardin des Cimes to do a lovely (🌲 largely shaded in the woods) aller-retour hike to the Refuge de Varan (or a longer boucle, along the TPMB path via the Chalets de Charbonnière, and back down to the gardens).
🗓 opening hours: Saturday 25th May until 29th September, from 10h until 19h or 20h;
adults (over 16 years): summer – 6,50€; spring and autumn – 5€;
children (4-16 years): summer – 3,5€; spring and autumn – 3€;
babies and children up to 4 years: FREE!
families (2 adults, 2 children 4-16 years): summer – 18€; spring and autumn – 14€;
students, Disabled, Unemployed: 5€ / 4€ (FREE for person accompanying disabled);
address: 447 route du Docteur Davy, Plateau d'Assy, 74190, Passy; tel: +33 (0)4 50 21 50 87; website: www.jardindescimes.com