Château de Villandry

Villandry, France

The Château de Villandry is a castle-palace located in Villandry, in the département of Indre-et-Loire. The lands where an ancient fortress once stood were known as Colombier until the 17th century. Acquired in the early 16th century by Jean Le Breton, France's Controller-General for War under King Francis I, a new château was constructed around the original 14th-century keep where King Philip II of France once met Richard I of England to discuss peace. It is also known for its beautiful gardens.

The château remained in the Le Breton family for more than two centuries until it was acquired by the Marquis de Castellane. During the French Revolution the property was confiscated and in the early 19th century, Emperor Napoleon acquired it for his brother Joseph Bonaparte.

In 1906, Joachim Carvallo purchased the property and poured an enormous amount of time, money and devotion into repairing it and creating what many consider to be the most beautiful gardens anywhere. Its famous Renaissance gardens include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, and vegetable gardens. The gardens are laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges. In 1934, Château de Villandry was designated a Monument historique. Like all the other châteaux of the Loire Valley, it is a World Heritage Site.

Still owned by the Carvallo family, the Château de Villandry is open to the public and is one of the most visited châteaux in France; in 2007 the château received about 330,000 visitors.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1532
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Phil Manton (9 months ago)
Not sure if I should rate this. Only stopped for a drink in the village on the way through, but it looks and feels great. The coffee was good too
Veste Mocoso (11 months ago)
Beautiful castle and perfect gardens to spend few hours in. We walked them all. They're not too big (as compared to, say, Versailles). We went there in the fall and it was a little hot still. I wouldn't go in the summer but I will admire who has! We couldn't avoid not thinking of how they can maintain those amazing and colorful gardens. You have to go up to the forest and take a look at the gardens from there. This is one of those places just to be, not to spend your time taking pictures. You can see the pictures online at any time. Enjoy your trip!
Debbie R (12 months ago)
We visited this place to celebrate my mom's birthday. She loves gardens and everything plant related! Even our toddler had fun. Needless to say it was the perfect birthday gift for her. We started with a tour of the Chateau de Villandry and finished off our visit with it's beautifully manicured flower and vegetable gardens. I must say this the Chateau de Villandry is lovely but we were most impressed by its magnificent gardens. The gardens of the Chateau de Villandry is definitely one to see if your planning to take a trip to the Loire Valley while visiting France! It will not disappoint and is great for all ages.
brian herzog (12 months ago)
Even in autumn, the gardens are spectacular. And there are no crowds. It seems a fair trade to get a bit less color in return for not having to fight your way through the hordes. If you enjoy gardens of any type, you must visit this chateau.
Bez Stone (13 months ago)
For families : we loved this one! We opted not to go inside (there are only so many castles kids want to walk before they all start looking the same) and spent an hour or two running around the incredible gardens. One of our faves!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Château de Chaumont

The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.

Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.

Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.

In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.

The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.