On the same day that my husband and I visited Salagou and Moureze with my mother-in-law, we also went to visit Le Jardin de Saint Adrien. It’s a beautiful privately owned garden that was created from the ruins of an old rock quarry. It is actually someone’s back yard! In the summer months they open it up as a public garden for people to view it, and we were there just at the right time of year.
My MIL had been there previously with some friends and really liked it, so we decided to make this our last stop for the day. I didn’t get as many photos as I would have liked, it was the hottest part of the day and the sun was blazing, but I got the most important bits.
By the time we arrived, we had run out of water and were all totally parched and warm. The plan was to visit the gardens, have a drink and a bite to eat and then head out. It didn’t go quite according to plan though.
Before we paid to get in, we double checked that they had a little café where we could get a drink, and were told that they did. So we paid and headed into the gardens. We decided that before we even bothered walking around that we’d look for the café, but when we got there all the tables had been pushed back with stacks of pizzas on them and some women were there pouring juice. My MIL asked them where we could buy drinks, and the woman pouring the juice acted like we were a total nuisance. She said that they were busy and the café wasn’t open.
Uhhh… well we were after asking that specifically before we went in, and we were all so thirsty and tired by that point that we had no patience for this at all. My MIL continued trying to talk to the lady, asking if there was any way we could even get a glass of water, and she pretty much told us to piss off. Nice! I hadn’t even seen the gardens by this point but I was already set to leave.
Thankfully, my MIL is not the type to just let something like this go. She went outside of the café and found a guy who looked like he was in charge and told him about the response we’d gotten from the lady inside. He explained to her that they were setting up for a tour group that was there to see a concert (we could see the large group of people on the other side of the gardens) and continued to tell her how it was inconvenient that we were there looking for drinks while they were starting to set up for this party.
Boy did he pick the wrong woman to mess with. My MIL then proceeded to tear a strip off him and ask how inconvenient can it be to give people who paid to enter the gardens a glass of water in that kind of heat? I mean, she really gave him a what for. Then he said if we waited until the group came around we could probably mix into the crowd and get a drink then. So basically, crash the party. I could do that!
That’s when we walked around the gardens. We were all so stunned, pissed off and warm that while we did still see the beauty in the place, a big part of it was spoiled for us. I took some photos but by the time we got part way around the garden we saw the party gathering to get their food and drinks, so we kind of motored through the rest of the place so we could go get our drinks.
When we went into the café area, they had orange juice that they were filling glasses half way with and then filling the rest with water. I don’t know if they thought the juice was too expensive or what but at that point we didn’t care, it was wet! It wasn’t nearly enough though, I put mine back with one gulp and was still dying of thirst but I just did not want to face that heinous bitch again. She was busy pouring drinks at this little table so my MIL had tried to pour herself a glass of water, and the woman literally wrenched the bottle of water out of her hands.
I wonder, did the people spend so much on this garden that they aren’t getting the return they had hoped to get? Are they THAT broke that they need to squabble over WATER?! We had even told them we’d be happy with tap water and were still told to get lost, so I’m not sure what the problem was, to be honest.
I think my MIL was more disappointed than anyone. She was so excited to show us this place, as she’d really loved it the first time she went and she knew I’d love taking photos there. We could tell that she was really angry and disappointed with how our visit had gone, but it wasn’t her fault. I’m sure that if you go on any regular afternoon when there is nothing else going on, it’s great. You can probably sit and have a drink, then comfortably stroll around the gardens, just like we had intended.
If you go when there is some sort of group there or activity going on you are screwed, because I just don’t think they are set up to handle those kinds of situations. The words “biting off more than you can chew” come to mind.
In the end, we decided we’d had enough of the place and ended up taking our empty bottles from the car and filling them up in a bathroom outside the gardens. I think it’s safe to say, I’d never make it in the desert.
All in all, this is a beautiful garden and it’s amazing what they have done with it. I think it’s worth seeing if you are in the area, but I wouldn’t count on them for anything and if you are there in the dead of summer like we were? – Don’t trust the people at the entrance, and bring your own drinks! Also, be sure to check their opening hours as they aren’t your usual 9-5 type of hours, it’s more like a few hours once or twice a week.