The Jardin Francois is about an hour and a half's drive from us, and, having nothing to do this Sunday except take it easy, we decided to go and take a look. It's in the middle of countryside, in a slightly raised location, and has been thoughtfully and tastefully done. The owner also offers chambres d'hote in the restored buildings as well, so you can stay on-site and use the place as a base for exploring the area.
The garden is moistened by a spring, and the owner has taken advantage of this in creating a network of small, linked ponds and water features. And since it is fairly acid, (pH 6.2 or thereabouts, he told me), there are Azaleas, Rhododendrons, and other acid-loving plants.
The garden offers broad vistas, and smaller intimate displays - it works well on many scales. It is enhanced with well-chosen ornaments, and I liked the small collection of cast-iron hibachi barbecue grills. I also liked the home-made climbing rose frames made out of the iron rods used for reinforcing concrete (I could do that here!).
A garden well worth visiting. And as a special bonus, we got to see a collared grass snake that was minding its own business sliding along just behind a piece of border edging material. I saw what I thought might be a beetle scooting along, and when I peered over the edging, I saw that it was the head of a snake. We surprised each other, and the snake disappeared promptly under a bush.