In beginning, as a new traveler abroad, I was overjoyed when I first went abroad and wanted to visit all special attractions at my destination. However, no travel agency can satisfy my small (greedy) desire. When I became an industry worker, I secretly made a vow that my clients would no longer have to face hardships of choice, and there would be no more regrets when traveling. When everyone travels to France, in addition to visiting its famous cultural attractions, wine regions, castles of European royal families, lavender in Provence, Côte d'Azur in south of France and charming towns are most often mentioned. So, I set out on this journey as a tourist with attention of a worker, and I must find most representative and ideal itinerary in France.
We are thinking about how we can continue this journey in perfection, baptized with fashion and classics from Paris, so as not to break everyone's seething emotions. So, we have chosen charming Loire Valley.
From Paris via Versailles, Orleans to Loire Valley. Like "Valley of Kings" in Egypt, it is also well known here, difference is that it is grandest scene in world. The Loire Valley, French: Vallée de la Loire, has a total length of 280 kilometers and a total area of 800 square kilometers.). The beautiful scenery of river valleys on both sides of river attracted many French kings, artists and other celebrities to settle on both sides of river. A large number of high-quality architectural heritage, especially beautiful castles and courtyards, make this place known as "Garden of France". Since 2000, entire area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The castle complex in Loire Valley was chosen as imperial residence of French royal family in 15th and 16th centuries. Each castle of Loire did its best in technology, architecture and aesthetic sense, such as Chambord (Chambord) with 426 rooms and 282 fireplaces, and Chenonceau (Chenonceau) across river Cher (Cher). , Ambroise, Villandry, Tours, Cheverny and Angers, all in heart of a beautiful landscape surrounded by incomparable gardens. If you count, then more than 300 castles and estates have been completely preserved here. It is really difficult for us to choose what to give to our tourists.
Château de Chambord
Address: Domaine National de Chambord - 41250 Chambord
This castle, born in dream of Francis I (the tenth monarch of French Valois dynasty), stands proudly in endless forest. This majestic palace is a treasure of French Renaissance art that I can't help but think of. another garden "Old Summer Palace", carrying "Dream of Emperor". Coincidentally, one year after celebration of 50th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France, two heritage sites have established friendly relations, showing world outstanding architectural heritage of different cultures.
No one knows who Chambord's architect was, but legend has it that building was inspired by da Vinci's sketches and we came to see famous double helix staircase. The French are very fond of Gothic architecture, and even when the Renaissance blew into France, it is not difficult to see magnificent buildings that combine Gothic and Renaissance styles. Chambord, which took 138 years to build, is a collection of various geometric elements such as squares and circles. They are neatly arranged and symmetrical to each other. The golden ratio is not bad at all. Therefore, even with a variety of architectural styles combined, there will be no surprises.
The structure of castle comes from concept of a square fortress. The central main building is symmetrically consistent with outer square wall of fortress. They are both square main buildings and four round buildings at corners. The taller building at rear reflects theme and momentum of main building; square embankment on lower floor in front is a symbol of city wall and gate of main building, and is also entrance to the castle. .
The tower of central building is tallest building in entire castle. The towers are ingeniously decorated with gothic buttresses. In addition to allowing column towers to be taller, design of square columns and arches is used to replace traditional buttresses, which also allows building to show softer side of Renaissance. style. .
Check out all tall towers on roof of central main building, whether square or round, pointed or flat, seemingly repetitive but slightly different combinations. The detailed decoration is also compared to Renaissance style design concepts such as symmetry, repetition, and arrangement. The clever use of geometric patterns to create a three-dimensional appearance is also a major feature of this building.
The castle has 440 rooms and 84 staircases. Entering main castle from main entrance, you will immediately find yourself in a bright and spacious marble palace facing famous "double spiral staircase". The double helix spiral staircase has two symmetrical entrances and exits on each floor, and two sides will not meet each other when going up and down to avoid embarrassment when meeting queen and mistress. I really can't understand His Holiness's cheating mentality, but this kind of romance also adds a different spice to appreciation of architecture, which makes it more interesting. At end of stairs, continuous totems and coats of arms are engraved, representing salamander design of Francis I, filling entire wall and ceiling.
At present, only 66 rooms are open in castle for tours, including living room of Louis XIV with portraits of Bourbon emperors, including Louis XVI sent to guillotine, Louis XVIII who subsequently restored monarchy, Portraits such as Charles X, and also carriages, dishes, scepters, crowns, royal utensils, etc.
More than a castle, I admire vast forest belonging to Chambord. The outer walls of castle stretch for 32 kilometers and were built from end of reign of Francis I. In this area, oak forests, pine forests, meadows, swamps and glades adorn natural beauty. Roe deer and wild boars live freely here. In 1947, territory of Chambord was included in list of national wildlife sanctuary and hunting.
The 1,000-hectare forest is now open to public, and a wildlife observation station has been set up specifically to watch their every move without disturbing lives of animals.
There are 3 ways to visit territory of Chambord:
Walk or bike. Bicycles can be rented in Blois, 25 kilometers from Chambord and back, for price of 13 euros.
Horse ride. Accompanied by a special guide, tourists will walk along forest paths, visit various landscapes in territory, observe various animals, and horse equipment provided by territory can be picked up upon departure. The event is held only every Wednesday and Saturday, advance booking required, cost 70 € (including harness).
Take a motorcycle off-road. An 8-person SUV allows you to take a year-round tour of picturesque landscapes of Chambord Nature Reserve, which lasts an hour and a half and costs 18 euros.
11€ for adults; free for family members under 18; free for young people aged 18-25 in EU countries holding an EU residence permit.
Team (more than 20 people)
9€ for adults, 3€ for children/students for bookings from March 1st to October 31st.
With exception of December 25th, January 1st and January 31st, it is open all year round and last entry is half an hour before closing.
From April 1 to September 30, from 9:00 to 18:00
October 1 to March 3 from 10:00 to 17:00
The closest city to Chambord is Blois, so travelers who want to travel to Chambord are advised to take a train or tour bus to Blois and then transfer to a bus from Blois. There is a direct bus to Blois from Gare Austerlitz in Paris, journey takes about 1.5 hours, or you can change from Tours Saint-Pierre-de-Cores and take a train to Blois, journey takes about 2 hours. From Blois train station you can take TLC bus line 3, travel time 25-40 minutes, 2 shifts from Monday to Saturday, 2 euros per landing.
Although Loire Valley can be reached from Paris by public transport, it is recommended to drive or rent a car when scenic spots are relatively scattered. Time to change car. Chambord has a large car park and parking fee is 4€ per day. 50 meters from castle is 4-star Relais de Chambord, open since March 16, 2018, offering 55 rooms and suites. Leaving Chambord on our option, next stop would be Château de Cheverny.
Château de Cheverny
Address: 41700 Cheverny, France
Chateau de Cheverny has an elegant, harmonious and snow-white appearance, known as "the white boat in a sea of flowers breaking through waves", and is most refined and luxurious castle in Loire Valley. Known for its collection of furniture and decor.
The earliest building of castle was a fort built in 1500, and today we can see its relics only from outbuildings. The main body of castle was built in era of Louis XIII in first half of 17th century. Between 1624 and 1640, Count Henri Hureau and Countess Marguerite Gaillard de la Morinière, then lords of Cheverny and ministers at court of Louis XIII, ordered demolition of local defensive fortifications, building this beautiful castle on original site.
The blue-gray roof of Cheverny Castle, snow-white outer walls and perfectly symmetrical architectural forms reflect classic style of 17th century. It is plain and simple, but at same time has a strong sense of rationality and logical beauty. It is said to have been heavily influenced by Luxembourg Palace in Paris, and at time it was quite an avant-garde work. Its main architectural style moved away from traditional form of Gothic castle with strict barriers, numerous towers and intricate detailed structures prior to Renaissance, and instead pursues full expression of majesty of kings, nobles and rulers and strict social class distinctions.
The castle of Cheverny is divided into left and right wings, and main staircase (L'escalier d'honneur) is located in middle of two wings and connects different floors. Unlike spiral staircases of Chambord Castle, angled and straight staircases here reflect purest style of Louis XIII, and stones are also decorated with popular patterns of era, such as vases, fruits, military emblems and artistic symbols. , things, etc.
The entire castle has always been private property of Yuro family and has never been abandoned. The Huro family is a well-known family that has become famous in city of Blois (Blaisoise) since 13th century. During French Revolution, family's property was confiscated and castle had to be sold. Only after restoration of Bourbon dynasty, family regained a very strong political and economic status. Purchase of industrial enterprises and repairs. Unlike tragic experience of Chambord, when precious furniture and royal decorations were swept away during French Revolution, Cheverny Castle was very lucky and well preserved. During World War II, Château de Cheverny escaped war flames, and even treasures of Louvre, such as Mona Lisa Smile, were sent here for safekeeping.
Entrance to castles, parks and gardens 10.50 € for adults, 6.5 € for students and young people from 7 to 25 years old, free for children under 7 years old.
Visit to castle, garden, exhibition "The Adventures of Tintin", excursion package on an electric car: 19.5€ for adults, 13.9€ for students and teenagers from 7 to 25 years old and 3.5€ for children under 7 years old.
From January 1 to March 31, from 10:00 to 17:00
From April 1 to September 30, from 9:15 to 18:30
From October 1 to December 31 from 10:00 to 17:00
As in Chambord, you can take a bus or train to center of Blois and then transfer to a bus. Line 4 runs between Blois and Cheverny Castle, trip usually takes about half an hour
There is one bus in morning, afternoon and evening, and number of round trips will be increased during peak tourist season in summer.
I feel like I love every castle, but in order to choose most representative and reasonable route, we have to move on. Next stop: Chateau de Chenonceau.
Château de Chenonceau
Address: Chateau de Chenonceau - 37150 Chenonceau
Come to Chenonceau, this time we won't talk about architecture. So what are we talking about? Hearing. If Scottish castles in "Land of Ancient Castles" are mainly associated with intrigue and power, then castles on Loire River are mostly full of romantic intrigue.
Chenonceau, known as "Lady's Castle", is an architectural masterpiece, not only because of its innovative building concept on banks of Cher (Cher) River, but also because it is popular with women and makes them control fate and protect it . . Flowers adorn every room of castle which is adorned with luxurious furnishings and sophistication of this castle is icing on cake. Here are bedrooms in which 5 queens once lived, Louis XIV hall, front promenade across Cher River, a peculiar kitchen built into pier, workshop of Catherine de Medici (Cabinet Vert)...
The main entrance to Château de Chenonceau appears before you, it looks small, but in fact entire group of buildings faces main road with its short side.
This picture shows that forest around castle of Chenonceau seems to serve this castle.
Okay, having looked at castle as a whole, we move on to topic: history of Bagua Castle.
The French king Henry II, who ascended throne in 1547 (the second son of Francis I, not Henry II of England, to be honest, history of Europe is also quite chaotic) married Catherine de Medici, who was born into famous Italian Qi family (this family is right on Baidu, and you can’t say famous) is a queen, but she is fascinated by Diane de Poitiers, a widow who is 20 years older than her and she is 50 years old at time, and puts castle of Chenonceau Give it to her as a gift. Diana is more than 20 years older than Henry, but among Henry's many concubines (most European royal families believe in Catholicism and Christianity, doctrine requires monogamy, but can have multiple mistresses) Lao Dai is exceptionally favored in such a way that Henry will dedicate crown jewel to her. Diana seems to have an ageless face, mostly looking 30/50 without Meitu Shushu, which fascinates Heng Heng. Legend has it that Diana's secret recipe for beauty was to jump into icy Cher River every morning to bathe, then go hunting on horseback, and then lie down in bed for a night's sleep (a technique). Diana was not only beautiful, but also smart, and had a business mind. She managed castle in an organized manner. She led development of castle flower garden, orchard and vegetable garden, decorated it into most artistic garden of that time, and built a long bridge over river Cher, making Chenonceau is only castle in world with a bridge. Beloved old Dai was in palace, treated queen with a kind of merciful sympathy, and even nursed her when she suffered from scarlet fever. Although Queen Catherine tries to keep a cool head about normal relationships of royal family, there are times when a great aunt comes in and anger can get better of her. One day, Queen Catherine quarreled with Henry II and Diana over a certain policy towards her native Italy. Catherine contemptuously refuted Diana: "I read history of our country and found that no matter what dynasty there was a case of a harlot intervening in politics." . He was stabbed in head by Montgomery, a captain in Scots Guards, in a duel arranged at his daughter's wedding ceremony, and died ten days later at age of 40. Since then, plot has been reversed. Catherine de' Medici, widow of Henry II, not only drove Diana out of castle of Chenonceau, but also gained a foothold in political arena. became regent (three short-lived brothers - Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III) and for 20 years influenced French politics.
View of "Gardens of Diane de Poitiers" from balcony of castle.
The red part is Diane de Poitiers Garden, largest garden in castle with eight triangular lawns.
View of "Gardens of Catherine de Medici" from balcony of castle.
The red part is Catherine de Medici Garden, small but exquisite.
View of castle from Catherine's Garden.
Flowers and plants in Catherine's garden.
See this labyrinth? When I returned to look at this painting, I learned that it was built by Catherine.
The buildings on bridge were built by Queen Mother Catherine after the expulsion of Lao Dai.
The first room you visit when you enter castle is here - guard room. This portrait on mantelpiece is Catherine de Medici. The letter “H” on mantel stands for Henry II, and double letter “C” stands for Catherine de Medici.
This is embankment built by Catherine de' Medici on old bridge in 1576, where Catherine hosted a party for her son Henry III. During First World War, it was converted into a hospital. There is a photograph of a wounded man lying in a hospital bed, holding a fishing rod out of window to fish. During World War II, one end of corridor was enemy-occupied territory and other end was free territory. The castle of Chenonceau was also nearly destroyed by Germans.
The view from kitchen is not bad, you can see the river.
Thanks to this set of pulleys, goods can be lifted directly from boat along river.
A place where loads are lifted.
This portrait, hanging in Salon of Louis XIV, should say a few words. She is also one of mistresses of castle of Chenonceau - Madame Louis Dupont (1706-1799). A representative of sporting era, she gathered most prominent elite in salon in castle of Chenonceau, and Montesquieu, and Voltaire, and Rousseau were guests here. It is said that thanks to her wisdom, castle was saved from destruction by French Revolution.
The roof of main hall of castle has a series of arched ribs, and vaults of these arched ribs do not lie in a straight line, which looks silly to do architecture.
12.5€ for adults (17€ for itouch guide); 9.5€ for teenagers and students aged 7-27 (13.5€ for itouch guide).
From January 1 to February 21 from 9:30 to 17:00
From February 22 to March 29, from 9:30 to 17:30
From March 30 to May 31 from 9:00 to 19:00
June 9–7:30 pm
From July 1 to August 31, from 9:00 to 20:00
October 1 to October 24 from 9:00 to 18:30
October 25 - November 11 - from 9:00 to 18:00
From November 12 to December 31 from 9:30 to 17:00
Easter (April 19-21), Labor Day (May 1-3), Victory Day (May 8-11), Ascension Day (May 29-June 1), Pentecost (June 7-9).
Sunday) 9:00-19:30, ticket office closes half an hour earlier.
The castle of Chenonceau is located in small town of Chenonceau, nearest town is Tours. Trains between Tours and Chenonceau run every day from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm on average every hour, which is very convenient. Travel time by train is more than half an hour, fare is about 10 euros. You will see sign of castle when you leave platform of town, and you will come to ticket office along boulevard.
There are trains from Austerlitz to Montparnasse in Paris and from Charles de Gaulle Airport train station to Tours. The trip takes about half an hour every day and trip takes 1 to 2 hours. The fare depends on model and time period, between between 17.2 and 62 euros. Stops at Blois and Amboise.
Savoring gossip, we say goodbye to Chenonceau, next stop is Château de Langee, here we are.
Château de Langeai
Address: Chateau de Langeais 37130 Langeais
In 9th century, a stone fortress was first built in Langeai region, which in future will become main castle in Langeai castle. The current Chateau Langeais was expanded on basis of this castle. Until 1465, when Louis XI ordered it to be rebuilt, castle was still used to strengthen local defenses. Thus, building reflects some of changes that took place at turn of 15th and 16th centuries: facade from side of city has all characteristics of a fortress, such as: massive towers, drawbridges, patrol roads built on porches.
The façade on courtyard side corresponds to expectations of a king or a great lord of his residence: to be a pleasant place to live, with beautiful windows to enjoy view from outside.
In 1886, art-loving businessman Jacques Siegfried bought castle. For 18 years, he renovated castle and remade it in style of Middle Ages (floor tiles, frescoes), recreating atmosphere of princely residence of early Renaissance. In 1904, he donated castle to Institut de France, which is still property of the Institut de France.
At foot of medieval-style garden stands main tower, built by Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou, around 1000 AD. The main tower, one of oldest surviving in France, was once part of a 200-meter fort that once occupied a strategic position on a promontory overlooking Loire Valley. What remains of fortress is also remains of Saint-Sauveur chapel built by Fulk Neyra after returning from one of his pilgrimages to Jerusalem. Today, main tower is decorated with restored scaffolding, which gives an idea of how it was built in Middle Ages.
All tickets 9 €, from 18 to 25 years old 7.50 €, from 10 to 17 years old 5 €, groups (from 20 people) 7 €.
From January 1 to January 31 from 10:00 to 17:00
From February 1 to March 31, from 9:30 to 17:30
From April 1 to June 30, from 9:30 to 18:30
From July 1 to August 31, from 9:00 to 19:00
From September 1 to November 11, from 9:30 to 18:30
From November 12 to December 31, from 10:00 to 17:00
14:00–17:00, December 25
Take TER from Tours train station to Langeai Gare de Langeais train station, whole journey takes 21 minutes and you will arrive at castle 4 minutes after leaving station.
Château de Azay-le-Rideau
Address: Chateau National d'Azay-le-Rideau
Château Azay-le-Rideau is located on a small island on river Indre (River Indre) in central Loire Valley. It is a castle that combines French and Italian architectural styles and is also one of masterpieces of early French Renaissance. The castle has been listed as a historical monument since 1840.
The castle was first built in 11th century and was used in 1119 by then lord Azay le Rideau (a Capetian knight of Philippe Auguste) to repel attacks of Tours and Chinon. The castle was built for defense ( O(∩_∩)Oh, ha -ha~ It's really luck, route of our castle ran from Orleans to Tours, and lords at that time were mortal enemies). It was later destroyed during Hundred Years' War between Britain and France. At end of 15th century, royal treasurer Martin Berthelot purchased estate and gave it to his son Gilles Berthelot. During reign of Francis I from 1514 to 1527 Gilles built castle. He turned castle into a charming mansion full of Italian Renaissance. The pomposity of castle must be sufficient to reflect aristocratic status and temperament acquired by royal treasurer. The castle changed hands and was renovated several times over centuries, and last owner had to sell castle due to bankruptcy. In 1905, French government bought castle and part of gardens and it was opened to public in March 2017 after a new stage of renovation in 2014.
The main part of castle of Azay-le-Rideau is divided into two parts, which are surrounded by river Indre and landscaped garden, respectively. The entrance to castle is made in form of a triumphal arch, decorated with initials of founder Gillian Bertero and his wife.
The skirt at bottom of stairs is decorated with symbols of Francis I and his wife, Queen Claude: a salamander and an ermine.
The English garden and pond to west, which we see now, were built in 19th century.
From foyer and royal bedroom, to sumptuous interior decoration and furniture, to wall paintings and tapestries, it all tells dizzying story of French royal family.
Full ticket €6.5, reduced ticket €5.50, free for EU students under 18 and 18-25.
Team (more than 20 people)
From April 1 to June 30, from 9:30 to 18:00
From July 1 to August 31, from 9:30 to 19:00
9:30-18:00, September 1-30
October 1 to March 31 from 10:00 to 17:15
Closed to public on January 1st, May 1st and December 25th; Last entry is 1 hour before closing.
With Tours as its base, TER train runs from Tours to castles of Chenonceau and Azay-le-Rideau.
During this period, we stopped in two cities of Orléans and Tours for a holiday. In addition to seeing style of old city of arts, we also tasted delicacies of Loire Valley, such as delicious and juicy lamb shank, fresh and tasty pike perch . Delicious and plump foie gras... with a variety of small desserts, oh, I also ate a lemon flavored eclair, many of which are not only delicious, but also very interesting with dishes. If I wasn't thinking about my next trip, I definitely wouldn't want to leave.
Would you like to know which castle we have chosen as a place to stay with a French panorama (food, wine, beautiful scenery)? Please pay attention to our further itinerary, at end we will reveal whole detailed tour itinerary for you. Of course, if you are impatient, you can also go to website for a consultation. At next stop, we will wander cities of Atlantic coast in search of places to fish for French oysters and go to wine route of Gironde Bay to taste wineries of Bordeaux.