The Valley du Loir
The Loire Valley is also heralded as the "Garden of France" and holds an amazing number of examples of why. The reason that most of the "Royal" Châteaux are found here is due to the climate. With longer summers that do not normally get "too" hot and shorter winters not normally being "too" cold, the royals deemed it ideal. Highly recommended are ........
Château du Lude -
Just a short 20 minute drive and you pull up in Le Lude, crossing the Loire with the sight of the Château to your left. The Château du Lude is one of our personal favourites and one of the many great châteaux of the Loire Valley (Vallée de la Loire) in France. The château stands at the crossroads of Anjou, Maine and Touraine. Le Lude is the most northerly château of the Loire Valley and one of the last important historical castles in France, still inhabited by the same family for the last 260 years. The château is testimony of four centuries of French architecture. A stronghold transformed into an elegant house during the Renaissance and the 18th century. The monument is located in the valley of le Loir. Its gardens have evolved throughout the centuries. It is a harmonious combination of French design and an English style landscape, with a rose garden, topiaries, a labyrinth and a botanical walk.
Château Villandry -
Famous the world over for it's amazing gardens, with its unique furnishings, décor and atmosphere, the Château de Villandry is a living testimony of French heritage. When Jean Le Breton acquired the Villandry estate, the building was a Medieval fortress. The defensive architecture was pared down, opened up and enhanced with elements of Renaissance décor. In the 18th century, the Marquis de Castellane moved into Villandry and made some major changes to transform the building into a warm, bright and comfortable home that reflected the art of living at that time. By the end of the 19th century the estate had fallen into disuse and was saved from dereliction by Joachim Carvallo and Ann Coleman, who in turn undertook a campaign of restoration to return it to its Renaissance state. Henri Carvallo, the current owner of Villandry, is following in the footsteps of his ancestors by both preserving this unique heritage site and opening it up for visitors to enjoy.