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.

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Details

Founded: 1532
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Phil Manton (17 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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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 (2 years 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!
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In 1151 King Konrad III ended a dispute over who should inherit Cochem Castle by laying siege to it and taking possession of it himself. That same year it became an official Imperial Castle (Reichsburg) subject to imperial authority. In 1282 it was Habsburg King Rudolf’s turn, when he conquered the Reichsburg Cochem and took it over. But just 12 years later, in 1294, the newest owner, King Adolf of Nassau pawned the castle, the town of Cochem and the surrounding region in order to finance his coronation. Adolf’s successor, Albrecht I, was unable to redeem the pledge and was forced to grant the castle to the archbishop in nearby Trier and the Electorate of Trier, which then administered the Reichsburg continuously, except for a brief interruption when Trier’s Archbishop Balduin of Luxembourg had to pawn the castle to a countess. But he got it back a year later.

The Electorate of Trier and its nobility became wealthy and powerful in large part due to the income from Cochem Castle and the rights to shipping tolls on the Moselle. Not until 1419 did the castle and its tolls come under the administration of civil bailiffs (Amtsmänner). While under the control of the bishops and electors in Trier from the 14th to the 16th century, the castle was expanded several times.

In 1688 the French invaded the Rhine and Moselle regions of the Palatinate, which included Cochem and its castle. French troops conquered the Reichsburg and then laid waste not only to the castle but also to Cochem and most of the other surrounding towns in a scorched-earth campaign. Between that time and the Congress of Vienna, the Palatinate and Cochem went back and forth between France and Prussia. In 1815 the western Palatinate and Cochem finally became part of Prussia once and for all.

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