The Italian Renaissance of the 16th Century greatly influenced the architecture of the Royal house of France. This was quickly seen in the Loire Valley as aristocrats started to build numerous castles and fortified country houses in this green and lush valley. A great diversity is to be found here between chateau’s built privately such as in Azay and several other ones used by the Kings of France during around 100 years, such as in Blois between King Louis 12 and Henry 4.
Most of these majestic buildings have survived to this day and can be seen by visitors to the region where the graceful architecture and beautiful tended gardens are on show, examples are the Chateaux of Chenonceau, Chambord and Villandry.
Guest of the French King for four years in Amboise at the Clos Luce, Leonardo Da Vinci arrived at the age of 64, with some of his paintings, including the world-famous Mona Lisa. He is thought to have worked on the architecture of Chambord and to have been buried in the chapel of Amboise Chateau.
A former hunting lodge, this majestic andextravagant chateau (440 rooms, 365 fire places) was built by king Francis I but he stayed there only 8 weeks total.
Unique double-helixstaircase, supposedly designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
Roof terraces open to public for great views.
The 14.000-acre park is surrounded by a 20-mile long wall.
The chateau, built on a former medieval water mill, was offered by King Henry II to his favorite Diane de Poitiers, and it was recovered by Catherine de Medici after the king’s death in 1559.
Over 200-ft long palace-bridge that stretches across the riverCher, widely used by French Resistance in WWII.
175-acres park with two beautiful flower gardens.
French writer Balzac called Azay “a multi-faceted diamond surrounded by the Indre river”.
This enchanting chateau shows a refined transition between Gothic and Renaissance styles and is surrounded by moats and an English romantic park.
Beautiful 4-storey grand staircase and lovely furniture and tapestries inside.
Spectacular views over the town and Loire river from the magnificent chateau, where took place the ill-fated Huguenot plot against teenager King Francis II.
Visit Clos Lucé where Leonardo daVinci spent the last 4 years of his life and see his burial place in the chateau’s chapel.
Sumptuous and unrivalled gardens influenced by Renaissance Italian gardeners : love garden, water garden, vegetable garden, herb garden.
This patchwork jewel on 3 levels covers 10 acres and contains 1.200 lime trees and 30 miles of box hedge !
Last big Renaissance chateau built in the Loire in the 1530’s.
French kings’ residence during Renaissance times, where Catherine de Medici died and where the Duke de Guise was stabbed on his cousin’s orders (king Henri III) for being suspected of organizing a plot against him (Religious Wars).
The prestigious chateau shows 4 different styles, on 4 different aisles, built in 4 different periods, and houses beautiful furniture and sumptuous decoration.