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 (20 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!
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.