Would the construction of so many castles in the Loire valley have been possible without the main «ingredient»: the Loire river, the largest one in France that crosses the country from east to west, and its numerous tributaries ?
That makes the region a very old crossroad of ideas, culture, arts and trade of course since at least the Late Antiquity. St Martin who came from Pannonia in Central Europe started the evangelization of the locals in the 4th century, Theodulf the Spanish bishop of Orléans in the 8th century was, that same city liberated by Joan of Arc 700 years later during the 100 years war.
Most of the castles in the Loire were erected above old feudal defensive fortresses by Kings, wealthy nobles who worked for the governement such as ministers, officers, tycoons…
That is why the castles and their grounds are so impressive, wealthy and manucured.
Your private guide is going to take on a journey to what was the beating heart of France until the late 16th century.
You will start your day with the Ladies Castle : CHENONCEAU
Probably the most refined castle in the Loire valley, not only thanks to its incredible location over the Cher river, tributary to the Loire river, or the furnitures or the paintings (Primaticcio, Van Loo, Murillo…) or the sculptures (Jean Goujon) or the wealthy and elegant grounds it is also thanks to several unforgettable ladies.
It is named the Ladies Castle because the queen Catherine Di Medici, Diane of Poitiers, Louise Dupin, representative of the age of Enlightenement, were, among others, the soul and the guardian angels of this beautiful place. It is one of the jewel of the Loire valley your private guide will take you to.
After an enjoyable lunch break you will visit AMBOISE Castle.
Last castle of the Middle Ages and first of the Renaissance it is a perfect example of how a strategic location of a medieval fortress was turned into a pleasant spot with a royal castle and an amazing view.
The two wings left, one gothic and one Renaissance, are an interesting example of the evolution of the architecture that was more refined from the very early 16th century due to especially the influence of all the Italian artists that left Italy to follow the french kings to France during what was called the military campaigns in Italy. The most famous among these artists, who was buried in the castle, is of course Leonardo Da Vinci.
That is also a place where examples were made during the Amboise Conspiracy in 1560 and from 1848 to 1852 when it was a state prison for the Emir Abd El Kader along with 80 other people.
On the way back to Nantes you will make a last stop in VILLANDRY to enjoy the best example of Renaissance gardens..
In 1906 Ann Coleman and Doctor Joachim Carvallo bought the castle and redesigned the original Renaissance Gardens that will leave you breathless. The gardens works were inspired by the book of Jacques Androuet Du Cerceau, french architect in the 16th century.
The Ornament Garden with all forms of love, The Water Garden, The Sun Garden, The Vegetable Garden with an amazing palette of colors, are an appealing and evocative summary of this place where people were fed, healed, had fun and loved.
Take a moment in that dream!
(we recommend a pick up not later than 7.30 am entrance fee included / lunch not included).