The Roses Of The France Rhone Region

A Fête Des Roses from Lyon to Beaujolais and Back

A garden tour hosted by Rosarian Paul Zimmerman

With Rose Nursery Owners/Breeders Fabien and Florence Ducher

Who Will Be Our Special Hosts for the Initial Lyon Based Part Of The Tour

Led by Susan Worner of Susan Worner Tours

13th - 21st May 2024

Join us for an opportunity to tour the gardens of the Rhone Region of France with three renowned Rosarians. If you love the rose gardens, cuisine, wine and culture of France, this is an opportunity to see and experience them with a decidedly French flair. From renowned public gardens such as  the Parc Tête d’Or in Lyon, to private ones including the legendary La Bonne Maison garden of Odile Masquelier,  this tour will cover it all. We will even visit garden and cultural sites such as the village of Cluny, touring Chamboeuf— the ancestral village of the Meilland family— with special guest Matthias Meilland, and also a private workshop at the nursery of Fabien and Florence Ducher.  During the garden visits you will have the opportunity to discuss all things rose gardening: under-planting, mulching, pruning, budding, and training with our tour hosts. Discussions continue over meals together and of course a glass of wine. We will spend the first four nights at the Hotel de l’Abbaye in Lyon and then move to the French countryside of Beaujolais for three nights at the Chateau de Pizay before returning to Lyon for our last night. Both hotels offer good food and hospitality: dinners with local wines and bed & breakfast all included. We will also often have lunch and dinner at local restaurants.

Arrival Day: Monday 13 May

Arrival day at the Hotel de l’Abbaye in Lyon where we will have a champagne reception at 6PM. Dinner is on our own but we will be suggesting local restaurants.

Day 1: Tuesday 14 MayBLD

We spend the full day at the legendary Parc Tête d’Or in Lyon where we will visit its three rose gardens led by Fabien who knows the gardens intimately. The morning will be spent exploring both the Grande Roseraie Internationale which covers 12 acres and includes more than 16,000 rose bushes and then the International Rose Contest Trial Garden. After a delicious lunch, we finish the day in the Botanical rose garden which traces the history of the rose through its collection of wild and historic rose bushes. We return to the hotel for dinner there that evening.

Day 2: Wednesday 15 MayBLD

After breakfast we depart for Roseraie Ducher the home and nursery of Fabien and Florence. They will show us their working nursery and rose breeding facility plus tell us more about the history of the Ducher Family and roses of Lyon. After a delicious local lunch, we return to the Roseraie for the afternoon activities which will include a hands-on workshop on hybridizing and grafting. After a full day of everything commercial roses, we return to Lyon for dinner together.

Day 3: Thursday 16 MayB

We spend the morning with Fabien in the private rose garden of Margot, Jardin de l’Hermitage at St Genis de Laval. This exceptional private garden houses some 700 varieties of roses set among hundreds of perennials and is still lovingly cared for and overseen by its founders who will be there to guide us through the garden. We return to Lyon in time for lunch on your own and then the afternoon and evening you are free for sightseeing and shopping. Dinner is also on your own this day. A visit to the covered market is highly recommended and we will have other recommendations as well should you wish.

Day 4: Friday 17 MayBLD

We depart our hotel in Lyon after breakfast with our luggage as we are moving hotel this day. Our first stop is the garden of old roses in Saint Galmier. We will have lunch outside and be joined by Matthias Meilland of the famed Meilland Rose Family and Nursery. After lunch, we will take a short ride to Chamboeuf which is the seat of the Meilland Family. Matthias will be our guide through this village planted with close to 10,000 roses. He will also do a presentation on the history of the Meilland family and guide us through the family museum there. After a full day of ‘All Things Meilland’, we depart for an early evening check-in to Chateau de Pizay for the next three nights.  Dinner together in the hotel.

Day 5: Saturday 18 MayBLD

After breakfast, we have a morning planned of wine and roses. Chateau de la Chaize is beautifully situated in the Beaujolais rolling hills and dates to 12th century and is surrounded by an extensive wine estate.   The original chateau was replaced in the 17th century and André Le Notre planned the surrounding gardens. As they will only let 10 of us tour and taste at one time, part of the group will go right after breakfast and the other half later in the morning. Those at the Chateau Pizay will be given a tour of the Chateau gardens by our tour guide Susan Worner. We all gather together again for lunch in a local restaurant in the Beaujolais hills. After lunch, we visit Le Jardin de ma Mère to enjoy Christiane Morizot’s collection of 450 ancient varieties of roses. Dinner at the hotel this evening.

Day 6: Sunday 19 MayBLD

Today we head to southern Burgundy to the Château de Cormatin.  Built from 1606 onwards and surrounded by wide moats we will have a guided visit of the interiors and then extensive gardens with boxwood parterres, green theatre, potager and a maze. We will have lunch in a nearby village and then in the afternoon will spend time in the small town of Cluny famous for its tenth-century Benedictine Abbey, medieval architecture, rounded pink tile roofing, winding cobbled streets, Romanesque houses and the famed Cluny rose garden – 350 varieties of mostly old roses and some modern. Dinner is back at the hotel this evening. preceded by wine tasting.

Day 7: Monday 20 MayBLD

After breakfast we depart with luggage as our day will finish back at the Hotel de l’Abbaye in Lyon. The morning will be spent at the hillside gardens of La Rejonière created and planted by Cristiana Gouverneyre for her floral artist workshops. It is a sustainable garden of all kinds of plants including roses grown for creating floral art. We will have a hands-on workshop led by Cristiana Gouverneyre so you can personally try your hand at the art form of floral arranging. After lunch nearby we head back to Lyon for our final garden which is the legendary garden of Odile Masquelier, La Bonne Maison overlooking the river Saone in Lyon. A stunning hillside garden with terraces beautifully planted with roses and perennials. The roses here are allowed to grow naturally and ramble and scramble throughout the gardens. Our final dinner will be in a restaurant nearby to the hotel and will be joined for this last evening by Fabien and Florence.

Tuesday 21 May

All guests depart after breakfast

Hotel de l’Abbaye, Lyon
Château de Pizay
Activity Level

Good walking ability, some large gardens


EUR 5470.00 per person sharing

EUR 1630.00 supplement for single occupation of a double room

What's included

All hotel accommodation, meals where shown, wine/water with meals, local taxes, local guides, all land transport - water on coach, all visits and workshops, tips. Meals included are shown as B breakfast. L lunch. D dinner

What's NOT included

Items of a personal nature, full travel/medical insurance, travel to/from Hotel in Lyon

How to book

Please complete and sign the booking form, scan, attach to an email and return to Susan Worner Tours –

Payment of the deposit of EUR 600.00 is required per person through PayPal. The details are on the booking form. We suggest you reserve your flights after we confirm to you that the minimum number of guests have booked their places. We recommend you take out insurance cover as soon as your flight is booked.

Travel/medical insurance (insurer, policy number and emergency insurers’ contact number) are obligatory. Please send us these details.

Upon receipt of the deposit payment and completed booking form, we will send you a booking confirmation/invoice and a certificate showing you are covered financially by our licence. The final balance payment is due 90 days before the tour commences.

How to travel to Lyon

There is an excellent direct train service both from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and from Gare du Lyon train station in the city of Paris. The line is served by TGV trains and advance booking of tickets/seats is obligatory. All information is available on On arrival in Lyon station, take a taxi from the taxi rank outside the station for the short journey to the hotel.

Should you wish to arrive earlier than 13 April, please contact the Hotel de l’Abbaye direct : to reserve your room.


Climate: Typically springtime with warm, sunny weather but rain showers and a dip in the temperature can occur.

Clothes: Layers are suggested and good waling shoes for the gardens. Casual-smart for the evening.

What to do next...

Step 1

Complete and sign both pages of the Booking Form (downloaded from the 'How to book' section on the right)

Step 2

Scan and email to:

Step 3

After notification of minimum group numbers being reached, book airflights and travel/medical insurance and send us details.

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