30140 Générargues, France: Liberté, égalité, bamboo
The French believe that they have everything in France. They may have a point: Beaches, churches of world renown, gastronomic temples, museums, vineyards, and ocean views. And if you were trying to think of things the country doesn't have, don't play the bamboo card.
The story begins with plant-lover Eugène Mazel, who started began growing non-native species in 1856 on this southern France site. After his death in 1902, the Négre family took over the care of the giant bamboos, the Japanese maples, the horse chestnut trees and all the rest on the 37 acres.
In 1953 opened to the public and remains relatively unknown to the traveling hordes, allowing it to provide a refuge of great beauty.