37150 Chenonceau, France
Château de Chenonceau
The Château de Chenonceau, "the Château des Dames"
An architectural masterpiece, property of the Crown and then a royal residence, Château de Chenonceau is a truly exceptional site by its original design, but also its history: loved, managed and protected by women, including Diane of Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis, it is also known as the ‘Château des Dames’. The feminine touch is everywhere; it has protected the Château from the ravages of war and made it a peaceful place.
At the Château of Chenonceau, the flower arrangements in each of the sumptuously furnished rooms only add to the refinement. The Chambre des Cinq Reines, the Salon Louis XIV, the gallery on the River Cher, the astonishing kitchens built on the bridge piles, the Cabinet Vert of Catherine de Medicis... Step by step, Chenonceau takes you through history, its dreams and its secrets.
A focal point of civilisation and sharing, Château de Chenonceau has a collection of paintings by masters, a veritable pinacotheca worthy of the greatest museums... and a remarkable set of Flemish tapestries.
Outside, the gardens of Catherine de Medicis and Diane of Poitiers emphasise the elegance of this unique landscape between sky and water. From the Jardin Vert designed by Bernard Palissy to the Italian maze and the floral harmony of the vegetable garden, the spirit of Chenonceau can be felt everywhere. The ‘tranquillity of the soul’ is coupled with ‘aristocratic serenity’.
In summer a nocturnal stroll in the gardens is a magical experience, accompanied by the music of virtuoso Arcangelo Corelli.
The Orangerie, a restaurant boasting refined cuisine, as well as a tea room and a self-service restaurant; the wax museum, boat trips in summer, the floral workshop… Château de Chenonceau is a truly enchanting place.
Travel time : 1h10 by car
37510 Villandry, France
Château de Villandry
Just a few kilometres from Tours are the romantic, internationally renowned Villandry gardens surrounding their eponymous château. There is magic in every season here: take a stroll in the Jardin d'Ornement or the Jardin d’Amour, whose clever designs illustrate tender, passionate, fickle and tragic love through different uses of colour. Then comes the herb garden with aromatic and medicinal plants, while the music garden is an intricate fusion of boxwood, yew trees and flowers. In the Renaissance garden, vegetables and flowers have been planted side by side within nine identically-sized squares, creating a chequerboard of stunning colour. The gardening team replants the beds twice a year using no less than 40 varieties of vegetables, including the famous Villandry cabbage. Make sure you leave time to wander across the vast lawns of the water garden, admire the Jardin du Soleil and lose yourself in the hedged maze. The château’s bell tower offers a wonderful elevated view of the gardens.
Events and activities are held throughout the year at Villandry – you can enjoy the magical Nuits des Mille Feux (Nights of a Thousand Lights) in early summer, while in the autumn the gardeners share their expertise during the Journées du Potager (Vegetable Gardeners’ Days).
Travel time : 1 hour by car.
37190 Azay-le-Rideau, France
Standing on an island in the middle of the Indre River, the Château of Azay-le-Rideau, one of the finest Château de la Loire, was built during the reign of François I by a rich financier, Gilles Berthelot, who wanted his fabulous new home to combine the latest technical innovations from Italy and the art of French architecture.
The Château d'Azay-le-Rideau is a jewel of the early Renaissance and in the evenings during July and August, its romantic gardens come alive as the setting of the special night tour: "The Magic Mirror".
The castle opens the doors to its roof. Come admire the exceptional 16th century roofwork.
The site was designated world heritage site by UNESCO.
Travel time : 1 hour by car
36290 Azay-Le-Ferron, France
The chateau of Azay-le-Ferron is a typical example of the beautiful Loire Valley chateaux. Yet it stands at the gates of the Brenne region. AZAY-le-FERRON, under the control of the Preuilly sur Claise barony, was therefore part of the Tourraine region.
The chateau is made of four parts built at different times : The tower Frotier (late XVth), the wing Humières (mid-XVIIth), the pavilion François 1er (XVIth), and the pavilion Breteuil (XVIIIth). On the side, the wing Cingé (XVIIth) is linked to the chateau by a gallery built in 1926 and inspired by the chateau of Valençay.
It features a garden à la française and a French landscape garden. The interior is richly furnished.
Travel time : 40 minutes by car.
37420 Rigny-Usse, France
Enter the magical world of Ussé,
Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
Once upon a time there was a fairy tale castle overlooking the rivers Indre and Loire…it was so marvellous that Charles Perrault took it as inspiration for his tale of Sleeping Beauty.
Whether you are young or old, step inside the castle and marvel as the fairy tale springs to life before your very eyes. Follow in the footsteps of Vauban, Perrault, Chateaubriand, Le Nôtre and the Blacas family who still live in this illustrious Loire Valley château today.
Travel time : 1h25 by car.
Lieu-dit Chandon, 37270 Saint-Martin-le-Beau, France
Great little park for kids aged 3 to 8. Food is good value for money... plenty of picnic/bbq space too. Great day for quality family time.
Avenue René Monory, 86360 Chasseneuil-du-Poitou, France
With more than 50 million visitors since it opened, Futuroscope is one one of France’s most popular amusement parks and the only one of its kind in Europe. Futuroscope is the ideal place to relax in, with 60 hectares of tranquil green countryside and 25 original experiences you won't find anywhere else: films in giant format, thrill-filled attractions, 3D rides with 4D effects, games, live shows, open-air activities, and more. The spectacular theatres inside Futuroscope are gigantic sculptures and their futuristic lines blend in smoothly with the surrounding landscape. Discovery and thrills guaranteed for everyone, young and old!
1 Place Gaston Paillhou, 37000 Tours, France
Les Halles de Tours
Great place to find good local food. If you're staying in the area and able to cook for yourself, you an find some great meats, cheese, wines, wonderful pastries... and honestly a little of everything, though it's not a huge indoor market. On the weekend there's a fresh produce market in the morning.