CHATEAU D’AZAY LE RIDEAU
Sometimes the grounds of a chateau are more spectacular than the chateau itself- such is case at Chateau d’ Azay Le Rideau, home to the Saint Venant family including a countess who is a renowned landscape designer and botanist. The chateau is surrounded by a 17th century park and glorious Renaissance gardens. Balzac described the chateau and grounds as: “a faceted diamond set in the Indre”. It appears to float in the middle of the Indre river which is a tributary of the Loire.
Originally built in the Gothic style, overtime the chateau was transformed into a Renaissance castle with two unique staircases The first, of Italian design, goes up four levels with windows on each one. It is one of the first straight flight staircases in France.
The second, an internal staircase is a mesmerizing spiral:
The grounds are so lush they instantly calm the soul:
CHATEAU DE CHENONCEAU
Dating to 1513, the manor is built on the site of an old mill, with characteristic turrets and towers and elegant formal gardens. Making the chateau unique is its place on, not beside – the River Cher. A grand, arched bridge-come-hall spans the river’s waters, – simply breathtaking.
As mentioned in last week’s post Queen Catherine de’ Medici, widow of Henry II, quickly installed the authority of the young king, her son, at Chenonceau, upon the King’s death while giving the much smaller Chateau Chaumont to Diane de Poitiers, the late King’s mistress, as a consolation prize. It is easy to see why – the chateau and its surrounding land are simply spectacular. I was gobsmacked with the tree lined paths and the terraced gardens:
The pièce de résistance? This:
I took a spin in this garden labyrinth. While it doesn’t have the collapsing walls like the maze Harry Potter had to travel through in the Goblet of Fire movie, or the frozen maze that helped capture Jack Torrence so his son could escape in The Shining, but it was still a lot of fun. Can you see me?