The Jardin des Martels, Tarn visitors guide

Photo of The Jardin des Martels (Midi-Pyrenees region)

Visit The Jardin des Martels, France

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The Jardin des Martels is a beautiful garden open to the public in the Tarn department about 30km north of Toulouse in the village of Giroussens. The extensive garden covers about 35000m2 and is one of the stops of the 'Chemin de Fer touristique du Tarn', a small tourist steam train which sets off from St Lieux les Lavaur.

Explore the Jardins des Martels

The gardens began life as a personal garden linked to the farm of the owners. As they developed their garden and won local garden competitions people began to ask for visits and the gardens opened to the public in 1994. The gardens are constantly being developed and now welcome over 40000 visitors a year.

The jardins des Martels are split into 5 key areas. The first area is a walkway along the edge of a long winding canal of water complete with some islands and whose edges have been beautifully planted in a relaxed English-garden style. I was particularly struck by a clump of tall straight trees with bright flamingo-pink leaves. I don't think I have ever seen the tree before. It turns out to be a Cedrela tree which is bright pink for a few weeks in spring and then fades to green and blends in with all the other trees.

cedrela tree

Next the tropical greenhouses are filled with koi, water-lilies and daturae.

The next area contains colour themed gardens which are sure to give you some planting ideas for your garden at home. Children will enjoy the mini-farm with goats, deer and 150 animals in total.

Finally you come to the terrassed water garden where water cascades down from top to bottom and feeds the lotus ponds which are filled with lotus flowers at the end of June.

There are also 2 snack areas where you can buy hot and cold drinks and biscuits and picnic tables are set up by the car park on the outside of the park. If you have been inspired there is also a garden centre selling many of the plants you will have admired in the garden (including the lovely Cedrela tree which I confess I had to buy!).

water feature

The Jardins des Martels opening hours and practical information.

Address: The Jardins des Martels, 81500 Giroussens; tel: +33 5 63 41 61 42

May, June, July and August: Every day 10.00-18.00

April and September: Every afternoon 13.00-18.00

October and November: Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays: 13.30-18.00

Prices: Adults 8 euros, 11-17 year olds 5,20 euros and 4-10 year olds 4,20 euros

The Chemin de Fer touristique du Tarn

This is a small tourist train track which runs between Saint Lieux les Lavaur and the Jardins des Martels pulling open air carriages for tourists to enjoy a steam train ride through a section of the Tarn countryside. You can get off at the Martels gardens, look round the gardens and then hop onto a different train for the return journey. Allow a couple of hours for a leisurely stroll around the gardens and a cup of coffee.

The railway is open on Sunday afternoons in April, May, June, September and October and every afternoon in July and August. The train costs 7 euros for adults and 5,50 for 4-10 year olds.

Places to visit nearby

The Martels garden is in the village of Giroussens which is a small but pretty village and which as well as the gardens has an interesting pottery centre - the Centre Ceramique de Giroussens.

Nearby Lisle-sur-Tarn is a pretty village on the edge of the Tarn river. It has one of the largest main squares of all the Bastide villages in the area.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Tarn guide and the Midi-Pyrenees guide.

See also:

Map of The Jardin des Martels and places nearby

Visit near The Jardin des Martels with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Tarn

Plan your visit to The Jardin des Martels, Tarn

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

The French version of this page is at The Jardin des Martels (Francais)