THE LOIRE VALLEY CASTLE
Discover an extraordinary place in France, the Loire Valley, a unique castle group territory in the world. With well-known names such as Chambord or Azay-le-Rideau and its lanterns, turrets, gables, dormer windows and elaborated chimneys, the castles of the Loire Valley represent a major tourist sites in France. Most of them are situated along the Loire river or one of its tributaries.
41250, Chambord Castle
With more than 700,000 visitors each year, the Château de Chambord is the biggest and the most visited castle in the Loire Valley.
At the request of François I, King of France a lover of the arts and a passionate hunter, in the heart of the Sologne marshland the construction of the château of Chambord. The construction has begun in 1519 but was only completed during the 16th century with Louis XIV, the Sun King. The castle has become an emblematic place of the French Renaissance in Europe and throughout the world. Chambord was the dream of a French King Francis 1st!
Visitors can contemplate the 77 staircases, the 156metres of facade, the 286 chemneys or the 426rooms of the château. Rooms have been emptied but they were rarely full. The French court moved around all the time (François I spent only eight weeks in total, at Chambord castle.) Décor and furnishings were sent on ahead and, when the king moved, taken out and sent on again.
The monarch's entourage might number 10,000 persons, with 20,000 horses.
6 Place du Château, 41000 Blois
The royal chateau of Blois offers a wonderful panorama of the art and history of the Loire's castles. Surrounding the court, its four wings constitute a unique example of the development of French architecture from the 13th through the 17th century.
In its long history as a regional centre Blois castle was home to several kings such as Louis XII, Francois I, Henry III and Henry IV. Joan of Arc came here in 1429 to be blessed before setting off to drive the English from Orleans.
After several centuries of occupation, in the middle of the 17th century the castle was abandoned. This situation was worse during the Revolution when many of the important artefacts were destroyed or removed from the castle. The Blois Castle was listed as a historic monument in 1845, and was subsequently restored to its former glory.
The story of the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire begins around the year 1000, when Eudes I, Count of Blois, built a fortress on a hillside overlooking the river, in order to keep watch over the border between the counties of Blois and Anjou. Then in 1054 the castle came into the possession of Sulpice I of Amboise. The Amboise family was the owner of the property for the next 500 years.
Catherine de’ Medici acquired Chaumont-sur-Loire, and gave the castle to Diane de Poitiers. Two noted astrologers came at the Castle, Ruggieri and Nostradamus.
The fabulously wealthy heiress of sugar magnate Louis Say, Mariz-Charlotte-Constance Say purchased this castle in 1875 and married the Prince Henri Amédée de Broglie and for the next half-century the luxurious residence became the setting for sumptuous banquets bringing together the crowned heads of Europe.
A model of the Renaissance traditions, the Chenonceau Castle is an architectural masterpiece. The Château de Chenonceau is one of the most romantic castle in the Loire Valley.
The castle, also called the “Château des Dames”, it was built in 1513 by Catherine Briçonnet, and successively embellished by Diane de Poitiers then Catherine de Medici. Chenonceau was protected from the hardship of the revolution by Madame Dupin.
King Henry II decided to offer it to his Favourite, Diane de Poitiers, but Queen Catherine de’ Medici, widow of Henry II, quickly deposed Diane de Poitiers and installed the authority of the young king, her son, at Chenonceau.
In the 18th century, it was Louise Dupin, lady of the Enlightenment, who welcomed to Chenonceau the greatest French scholars, philosophers and academicians. This exceptional woman was the first to draft a Code of Women’s Rights, with the assistance of her secretary, Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Montée de l'Emir Abd el Kader, 37400 Amboise
First built in 1431, the Ambroise Castle was the residence of the French kings from the 15th to the 19th centuries, constructed upon the order of Kings Charles 8th, Louis 12th and Francis 1st its destiny is inextricably linked to the history of France. Numerous literary figures and artists were invited here such as Leonardo da Vinci whose tomb is preserved at the château.