A wonderful restored Renaissance château and
garden, built on flat land by the banks of the River Cher near to where it
joins the River Loire. The property passed through many hands and
suffered many changes before it was bought in 1906 by the present owner's
grandfather Dr Joachim Carvallo, a Spaniard who had come to France to study
medicine. He meticulously restored the buildings and made the garden that we
see today, influenced by the book 'Les Plus Excellents Bâtiments de France' by
J. A. du Cerceau (c1515-c84)
Azay le Rideau
d'Azay-le-Rideau was built on an island in the Indre River under the patronage
of King Francis the First. A subtle blend of French tradition and innovative
Italian decor, it is an icon of the new art of building in the Loire Valley in
the 16th century. Its successive owners have helped to make it the most
architecturally harmonious treasure in the Loire Valley. In 1905, the Château
d’Azay-le-Rideau came under State ownership.
A majestic Château, with stunning views
overlooking the town and River Loire, in the Château itself there is a
porcelain collection of miniatures. In the grounds there is a lovely
tearoom restaurant where you can sit on the terrace and enjoy the spectacular
For those of you with children the Château
at Brézé, is in two parts, both above and below ground, where there is an old
medieval château, where hundreds of people lived many years ago, this has
proved very popular with guests children, as their imagination goes wild!! It’s
also great for the adults as you can taste and buy the wine they have for sale,
which is a lovely fruity white, superb on a summers evening.
Although all but the royal apartments are still
in ruins, this 15th century structure, is an awesome site. Leonardo da Vinci
spent the last three years of his life here. The main street, which lies
along the base of the Château at first seems quite touristy, but there are some
nice shops, wonderful cafés, and a few terrific restaurants.
This Château was the inspiration for Charles
Perrault’s folk tale “Sleeping Beauty”.
In a superb setting and very romantic on a
summers evening, everyone loves this Château, and gardens, you can hire
rowing boats or take boat trips on the river, which the children love. There is
also a good restaurant in the grounds, or if you prefer to picnic there are a
number of tables in shady places, situated near the main gates.
You can also find smaller family owned Châteaux, which are open to the public. Not a Château, but a superb piece of architecture and well worth a visit is the historical Fontevraud Abbey and associated with Richard the Lion heart and Eleanor of Aquitaine, it has had a lot of money spent on restoring it in the last few years, making it hard to believe that this beautiful place was used as a prison until 1974.