Monty Don's French Gardens

The Gourmet Garden

Series 1 - Episode 2 The Gourmet Garden



This has to be the most lazily beautiful hour on television; Monty Don in his Paul Gauguin straw hat, wandering around some of France’s most sumptuous gardens. That’s all there is to it really, but Monty Don’s French Gardens is alive with glorious colours.

In this episode he looks at the country’s kitchen gardens from an allotment belonging to a delightfully garrulous lady who packs him off with a bagful of home-made chutneys to the fashionably gorgeous ”plots” at the Villandry Château in the Loire Valley. Every frame is an opulent painting as the ground bursts with life in the sun.

At Villandry, the produce is mostly for show, while the nuns in a Cévennes nunnery keep themselves entirely in food from their “potager”. Even Versailles has a magnificent fruit and veg plot, set up by the Sun King
Louis XIV to supply his court.


The horticulturist examines how the national love of food has influenced gardens in France. He visits a number of `potagers', in which vegetables and flowers are planted together in elaborate and beautiful displays, and talks to gardeners about this style of planting, revealing how it has been copied the world over. He also spends time in allotments, learns to pick asparagus, enjoys some of the best produce from the land and explores the importance the French attach to the soil.