The incredible, the large, the beautiful, the magical, the mysterious château de Chambord!
In reality a weekend hunting lodge in the middle of the forest of Chambord in which Francis 1st could spend the night with his many friends. It has 440 rooms, 365 chimneys and 84 staircases! The region of the Sologne is also well worth a visit what with its strawberry, wine and asparagus production!
An early example of Renaissance Architecture.
It was the home of Charles VIII until he knocked himself out on a low door and died of an internal haemoridge.
His widow Anne de Bretagne had to marry the next king, Louis XII. He was the father-in-law of Francis 1st who was brought up in this château together with his 5 year old betrothed fiancé, Claude de France.
And indeed it was this same Francis 1st who brought back to Amboise the one and only, the greatest, the most formidable Leonard de Vinci, yes the same one who recently wrote “The Da Vinci Code”! He has asked to have a small part in the film now being made!
In reality, when Leonard died in 1519 he was buried in the church which used to stand in the chateau grounds. However, when the church was pulled down after the Revolution his remains where moved to the small St Hubert Chapel just across the way.
During the summer Amboise Château has its own very good “Son et Lumiere” show depicting the youth of Francis 1st in the château. Go and enjoy music, costumed actors and actresses, horses, and the final fireworks display … and don’t forget to bring a cushion , the seats are a bit hard!
Another famous person who had the use of the chateau rent free was Mary Queen of Scots, who, before causing trouble in Scotland had been married to the young son of Francis 1st but when he died young, Mary had to return home and start a new life.
You have all seen this château, it’s the one ever so romantically spanning the river Cher.
It is called the “Ladies Chateau” as from its original conception it has always been the women who took the decision on what, where, how, by whom, things would be built!
In this one chateau you can admire at least four different architectural styles: medieval in the large and imposing "grand hall"(the windows were added in the 19th century), there is also Louis X11 early renaissance main frontage building (that’s him on top of his horse), full Renaissance introduced by the Francis 1st wing and staircase and finally the Classical style found in the Gaston d’Orléans wing built in the late 1600’s.
It was in this chateau that King Henry III had the Duke de Guise murdered (the uncle of Mary Queen of Scots) and where also Catherine de Medicis died in 1589.
Not far from Les Bocages gites, going west towards Tours , you will come across the very well known wine producing area of Vouvray , based in and around the village of the same name. Vouvray wines are white, either still or sparkling. And then you can find something to satisfy your palate as they produce from the dry wines, through the medium kind (tender sec) to sweet (moelleux) to very sweet (liquoreux).
Chaumont Château and Garden Festival
In the grounds of the characteristic chateau de Chaumont, once the home of Catherine de Medicis and of Diane de Poitiers, the Chaumont Garden Festival now in its 12th year, enjoys an international reputation. Each based on a given theme, up to 25 garden designers, and others, are invited to create a small garden, in a form of living art! You don’t come here to learn how to grown vegetables but how to use to create a tableau!
An ancient town, once royal town, once a”silk” town. Today a vibrant small city with an active industrial and commercial base encouraging a town social and cultural life, day and night! It has several concert halls and its own Opera House.
Tours is also an historic town co-founded by the Romans and St Martin, whose tomb you can still visit.
A lovely small town on the banks of the River Cher. If you are looking for somewhere to eat Montrichard seems to have specialised in catering to every taste and to every purse!
And overlooking the whole town are the remnants of Richard Lion Heart’s own castle.
Villandry whilst a lovely Renaissance château is world renowned for its magnificent gardens, restored using the plans of an ancient monastery which stood on the grounds.
The aspect which makes Villandry gardens different is that they use multi coloured VEGETABLES to introduce colour to the gardens. And of course it has some great topiary hedging too! Not to be missed, these are on the western side of Tours.
A charming small town on the banks of the River Vienne. This town is reputed for many varying things and people: first of all, on the top of the hill you can se what is left of the chateau built by the Dukes of Anjou, the Plantagenets, later kings of England. It was also in this château that Joan of Arc came to meet for the first time Charles the Dauphin, later Charles the VII.
Chinon was also the birthplace of that great character Rabelais, an excellent doctor, a friend to many, he is remembered today for his books about the giants Gargantua.
Chinon is also the home of an excellent red wine produced both on the gravel from the river but also on the argilo calcaire soils on the slopes above the river.
Azay le Rideaux
Azay le Rideaux means the chateau, a “jewel” of a Renaissance Chateau. A very romantic chateau, surrounded by the waters of the River Indrois.
In the summer the chateau puts on a “Son et Lumiere” show when they shine laser lights onto the edifice.
The chateau has been open to visitors since 1922, and was Hergé’s model for Moulinsart. You will be enchanted by the richness and abundance of its furnishing and the authentic and refined charm of its decoration. The most magnificently furnished château in the Loire Valley...Among the many masterpieces to the seen are : painting by old masters, tapestries from Ateliers de Paris, 17th century Flemish tapestries, a remarkable Louis XV grandfather clock, a rare Louis XIV commode, the lying-in-state bed in the King’s bedroom and a thousand others.