La Vallée des châteaux ...
Château de Chenonceau
The Château of Chenonceau is located in the Centre Val de Loire region, and was once a royal residence as property of the crown. It is a truly exceptional site, both for its original idea of building it on the Cher River, and for its destiny: to be loved, managed, and protected by women such as Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici. Today, the Château of Chenonceau is second only to Versailles as the most visited château in France.
A monument of exception
A place famous for civilization, transmission, and sharing, the Château of Chenonceau owns a collection of paintings by the great masters. It is a magnificent art gallery that rivals some of the greatest museums, as well as boasting a remarkable series of Flemish tapestries.Forerunner in a number of domains, the Château of Chenonceau is the only one to propose a video-guided visit using iPod, in 11 languages.
Numerous facilities and activities
There are numerous points of interest just waiting to be discovered: a restaurant with refined cuisine, l'Orangerie, a tea room, a self-service restaurant, a wax museum, boat rides during the warmer seasons, and the gardens of Diane de Poitier and Catherine de' Medici. From the kitchen garden, to the 16th century farm, to the floral workshop, to the interior of the château, the Château of Chenonceau is pure enchantment.
A magical atmosphere
Every evening from the 1st of July to the 31st of August, the château also organizes a night stroll in its gardens. It is a magical visit that is accompanied by the music of virtuoso Arcangelo Corelli. Boat ride on the Cher: La Gabare – Chisseaux "La Gabare", a traditional flat-bottomed boat, will take you along the Cher following the forest and vineyard-covered hillsides until you arrive under the sumptuous arches of the Château of Chenonceau, whose elegant gallery spans the river.
Festival International des jardins du château de Chaumont sur Loire
A natural belvedere overlooking the unspoilt Loire, offering one of the most beautiful views of this royal river, the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire extends over an area of 30ha and welcomes more than 385,000 visitors a year. The estate comprises the castle (15C-19C), stables and landscaped park designed by Henri Duchêne, and is also the venue for the International Garden Festival (late April to mid-October). The estate is also currently hosting installations by contemporary artists and exhibitions by famous photographers.
The Castle Chaumont-sur-Loire castle, which overlooks the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Loire Valley, is a fine illustration of both the defensive architecture of the Gothic period and the more leisure-inspired style of the Renaissance. The castle belonged firstly to Catherine of Medici, a great admirer of Nostradamus and Ruggieri whom she appointed as her personal astrologer, and subsequently to Diane de Poitiers. The castle was a hive of intellectual activity in the 18C and 19C when the Le Ray de Chaumont family welcomed visitors such as the sculptor Nini, the American Benjamin Franklin and the writer Germaine de Staël. The Prince and Princess de Broglie, the last private owners of the castle, introduced an extraordinary sense of modernity, fantasy and high society to the building.
International Festival of Gardens
Since 1992, the Garden Festival has provided an inspiring introduction to landscape design around the world. Almost 550 gardens, which act as prototypes for the gardens of the future, have been created during the course of its 21-year history. Acting both as a mine for ideas and a hothouse of talent, the festival stimulates the art of garden design by presenting new species and innovative materials, as well as inventive ideas and creative approaches to gardening. The diversity, creativity and quality of these projects has helped to establish the worldwide reputation of the festival, which has become an unmissable event showcasing the work of a new generation of landscape gardeners, architects, designers and gardeners. Alongside the festival, the Vallon des Brumes educational “vegetable garden” allows visitors to discover a series of experimental gardens which evolve with the changing seasons.
Le Clos Lucé demeure de Léonard de Vinci
The final abode of Leonardo da Vinci, the Château of Clos Lucé is situated just 500 meters from the Royal Château at the heart of the Loire Valley in Amboise. Both the park and the château are devoted to rebuilding the universe of Leonardo da Vinci and bringing it to life!
MEMORIES OF A PLACE
The red-brick château
Built on Gallo-Roman foundations during the reign of Louis XI, the château became the property of one of the king’s favourites.
Nature, the key to the mystery ?
Take a stroll in Leonardo's Garden and into the realms of initiation, botany, and education. Here you will discover the sources of Leonardo da Vinci’s inspiration.Leonardo da Vinci’s various works help us to understand nature while also providing us with a clearer perception of his philosophical approach.