When I told my two boys we were going to visit a place called Champs de Rêves, they weren’t particularly thrilled.
“We’re going to a garden centre? Do we have to come too?”
“Yes you do. Off we go!”
So, begrudgingly they got into the car, my husband sighed heavily, and off we went with water bottles and a packed picnic.
And, guess what? We had fun.
Located in Vaudreuil-Dorion — directly adjacent to Saint Lazare — Champs de Rêves offers a beautiful outdoor setting where you can play, explore, or just relax. Take a stroll through the lavender fields, pose the family in the lavender fields for that perfect holiday card picture, and get lost in the 10-foot tall ornamental grass labyrinth. My two little ones loved the rustic play area with its giant tractor tires — perfect for leaping across — and meandered through the maze whisper-shouting directions to each other across the paths.
The garden’s horticultural highlights include the impressive mosaiculture (living plant sculptures) that dot the landscape. The water cascading off a giant whale tail is a soothing soundtrack as you take in the dancing fairies, the huge cobra, and “The Hobbit Village” — a new project that’s underway.
The flower beds change throughout the summer, and starting towards the end of July the giant Russian sunflowers start to bloom. Have a stroll through their huge stalks as bees and butterflies zip about. Bring a lunch and enjoy the sights and scents while picnicking near the almost 50-foot tall horse sculpture or beside the pond. And, because you can never have too many sweet-scented flowers, stop by the lavender boutique where you’ll find a wide selection of natural lavender products for sale and visit the greenhouses and nursery for a huge variety of trees, shrubs, and flowers for your own garden. Who knows, after seeing the mosaiculture, you might be inspired to try something similar at home.
Despite their initial reservations, my kids (and husband) all had a great couple of hours as they played, wandered about, snacked, and begged to have “just five more minutes!” climbing over the giant tires.
Champs de Rêves is open every day from June 1 to September 30, 2021, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can pre-purchase tickets on their website, or at the garden centre once you arrive.
Picnic tables are available and there are shaded areas and seating throughout. The main paths are also wheelchair and stroller accessible.
Rates to visit the gardens:
$10 for general admission
$25 for a family (Maximum of 2 adults and 2 children between the ages 5 and 18)
Free for children under 5.
1620 ch. Daoûst, Vaudreuil Dorion