Each year, over 2,300 gardens open their gates to the public in Paris, Île de France, and, recently, in 20 countries all over Europe. Started in 2003 and organized by the Ministère de la Culture, the weekend of Rendez-vous aux jardins has become a real tourist attraction! This year marks the 17th edition of this celebration and the second year to include gardens outside of France. The tours usually take place early in June, inviting local Parisians and visitors alike to explore historic, contemporary, exotic, urban, and vegetable gardens. This year’s iteration will take place June 7-9 with the theme "Les animaux au jardin.”

Unable to pack up and travel to celebrate on such short notice? Worry not, there are plenty of ways to participate right here in Boston!

Sign up for a Fenway Victory Open Gardens Tour to enjoy Rendez-vous aux jardins all summer long. Originally established in 1942 to combat food shortages during World War II, Fenway’s plots have outlasted all other original Victory gardens. Individual gardens are lovingly crafted by Boston residents who turn each one of the 500 plots into its own little world. The Victory Gardens host free Open Gardens one Wednesday evening a month from June through September. Be sure to check Boston Discovery Guide's June events calendar to find the exact dates for all Open Gardens for the season!

While there, be sure to check out the Kelleher Rose Gardens right nearby! Enjoy both on June 25 for an “Evening Garden Stroll” with an Emerald Necklace docent.

Mark your calendar for June 16! Starting at 10AM at Berkeley Community Garden, the annual South End Garden Tour features different sections of this large neighborhood. This summer, head toward Rutland Square, Pilot Block, Claremont Park, and the Chester Square neighborhoods to take part in a self-guided tour. Be sure to keep an eye out for local artists creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind souvenirs that can be purchased after your visit. Tickets cost $30 online or $35 day-of and proceeds will benefit the South End/Lower Roxbury Open Space Land Trust.

The second-ever Jamaica Plain Garden Tour will take place on July 20th. Starting at J.P. Licks, explore private gardens and wander around Jamaica Pond with ice cream cone in hand! Buy your ticket online in advance (members pay $20 while non-members pay $25) to support the 56 Trustees' community gardens citywide. Day-of, prices will increase to $24 and $30, respectively. This tour is also looking for volunteers, who will be invited for the visit in thanks for their help.

The Rose Kennedy Greenway might not be the same type of garden as those mentioned above but the attractions are just as lovely. The Greenway is broken into distinct sections by cross streets and Boston itself. It spans over 1.5 miles between the North End and Chinatown and features everything from porch swings and splash fountains to carousels and art installations. Last year, there was even a zipline installed for the summer! Keep an eye out for any new additions this summer and enjoy a drink after work at the Trillium Beer Garden on the Greenway or weekly block parties in Dewey Square Park. The Greenway counts towards the 20% of Boston that is made up of parks, all of which have fun events planned for the summer!

While not taking place this year, keep an eye out for 2020’s Annual Tour of the Hidden Gardens of Beacon Hill and bi-annual Secret Gardens of Cambridge tour.

Even the Mayor invites you to participate in gardening fun with his annual garden contest! There will be 9 categories of gardens for this citywide celebration of amateur gardening. Entries are due by July 10 and more details can be found on the City of Boston official contest page.

Looking for another way to enjoy the outdoors during the summer? Check out a book from the Center’s library, find a park bench, and enjoy the beautiful weather with a story. Rendez-vous dehors cet été !

Image credit: Mike Birdy

Ingrid began her passion for French through the immersion program in Milton, MA, and has followed it around France and the world. She took a break from this first love to pursue a B.A. in English with a minor in Irish Studies at Boston College and a Masters of Library and Information Sciences at Simmons College. She is thrilled to meld her excitement for libraries and French language and culture in her position at the Center!

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