Loire Chateaux: Villandry

| December 20, 2011
loire chateaux: villandry

Château de Villandry – A château with an awesome back yard

Loire Chateaux Series: Villandry and its famous gardens

Of all the Loire Chateaux we visited, Château de Villandry was Donna’s favorite. Knowing how much she loves gardens, I had put Villandry on our itinerary and prayed that September was not too late to see Villandry’s famous gardens in all their splendor. The lavender was done so I assumed that nothing else would be blooming either. Boy was I wrong. As you can see from these pictures, we were not disappointed.

loire chateaux: villandry gardens

Impressive boxwood hedges and ornamental gardens at Villandry

We spent a few hours visiting the chateau and its lovely gardens. Although the chateau itself was very nicely kept and full of impressive works of art, the gardens stole the show. Villandry’s Renaissance gardens include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, and vegetable gardens – all maintained to perfection. Visiting Villandry actually brought back memories from my childhood. I was born in England to an English mother and and American father. While living in England up until about first grade, my family would visit English gardens from time to time. I remember being fascinated by boxwood hedges. I loved the preciseness of their forms and how they could be used to create designs on a grand scale. I suppose this early attraction was an indication of my future love of art and design.

loire chateaux: villandry's gardens

The gardens of Château de Villandry

Villandry was built toward 1536 and was the last of the large chateaux built in the Loire Valley during the Renaissance. Villandry’s builder, Jean le Breton, also oversaw the construction of Chambord. According to Wikipedia, 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.

loire chateaux: villandry gardens

Château de Villandry’s gardens

In 1906, Joachim Carvallo purchased the property, saved it from being demolished, 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. Today, Villandry is still owned by the Carvallo family. Like all the other Loire chateaux, Villandry it is a World Heritage Site.

loire chateaux: villandry vegitable gardens

Vegetable gardens at Château de Villandry

The vegetable gardens were the epitome of form and function. Oh how I would love to be able to grow such a garden. We now live at 7300 feet here in Colorado so the growing season is relatively short. We have made a nice garden but it is more of a challenge to grow the type of variety that we witnessed at Villandry.

loire chateaux: villandry flowers

Flower gardens at Château de Villandry

The flower gardens were equally beautiful and more whimsical in their arrangement. Rose bushes could be found throughout the gardens as well. In the photo below, you can also see a grapevine-covered pathway along the left side of the canal. Awesome!

loire chateaux: villandry canal

Villandry is complete with a water garden

The photo above provides a view of the canal, which leads up to the water garden above. As you can see, the site was not overrun with tourists in early September. This was typical for most of the chateaus we visited on our trip. As I have mentioned before, you can see several chateaus in a single day if you have your own car. They are all very easy to find with a Garmin and the driving experience is quite pleasant and rewarding. I highly recommended Villandry as an essential stop on your first trip to the Loire Valley. If you go, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

loire chateaus: villandry staircase

A beautiful staircase at Château de Villandry

Other Chateaux in this series

Tags: , ,

Category: France, Photography, Travel

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. These shots are fantastic Lee – gorgeous looking clouds certainly help the overall aesthetics of the photos!

  2. A.Barlow says:

    Wow that place looks awesome! You did a nice job with these shots. Grats.

  3. ConservativelyBohemian says:

    Just stunningly beautiful! If I could afford a place like this, and the staff, oh what a glorious place to live! Can’t even imagine it, but those helix staircases are gorgeous!