loire valley chateaux

Chateaux de la Loire

The Chateaux

The famous ones open to the public fall into the categories of ancient fortresses (Chinon, Loches, Grand Pressigny) and grand renaissance houses (Villandry, Amboise, Langeais, Azay le Rideau). We can provide you information and directions. Near to us are Chateau du Riveau (excellent for children) and Azay le Rideau (on an island, beautiful furnished).
Surprisingly, there are a lots of smaller châteaux in private hands. You will see them from the road as you tootle along the lanes. Some of them have open days.

Richelieu

This beautiful small town is 15 minutes away, one of the first ever planned towns, designed by its famous cardinal whose château was next door. Now gone apart from a single corner tower, its park remains a beautiful place to visit. There is a very atmospheric market every Friday and a music festival during August.


Cinema : Richelieu has a recently renovated cinema, Le Majestic, open most nights but mostly only in French. Chinon is further away but has a cinema, Le Rabelais, which sometimes shows films in English (look for VO or "version originale")

Other historic sites

Our favourite is the Abbaye de Fontevraud where King Henry 2nd of England is buried beside his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and their son Richard the Lionheart. Eleanor was born nearby in Poitiers, in a building now attached to the law court.
Think also of visiting the home of Rabelais near Chinon.

Chinon

This is a stunning small town dominated by its ancient castle. It was the favourite of Henry 2nd of England and is where he (and later his son Richard the Lionheart) died. It is where Joan of Arc was first introduced to the French King before her battle against the English at Orléans. It has a summer medieval festival, boating on the river and good food.

Descartes

Birthplace of the philosopher. Nice walking tour and museum




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