Once a year France celebrates its heritage by opening up buildings and gardens that are not usually open to the public. The options available can range from a guided tour of the Elisée Palace (6-hour queues), to a farm having an 'open day' (no queues), and are generally a good excuse for a day out.
The "Journées du Patrimoine" took place this last weekend, and since it was a nice day on Saturday, the wife and I went out to see what was to be seen. As it happened, we chose to visit a couple of gardens that are normally open to the public anyway, but that doesn't diminish their appeal.
The first one is a really lovely little garden just a short drive South of Le Mans. Called Jardin du Petit Bordeaux it is not large, but is laid out so that as you wander around it, the vista it presents changes constantly, giving you something new to admire every few paces. It was started some 25 years ago by its owner and is meticulously maintained. Well worth a visit if you like gardens and are near le Mans.