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I was going to delve into Malta but thought I should wrap up our Spring Trip with this final post on the Château de Villandry in the Loire Valley.
Villandry was built in 1536 by King Francois I's finance minister, Jean Le Breton.
Monsieur Le Breton had an existing medieval castle demolished to make way for the château.
Entrance courtyard from two perspectives:
The Le Breton family owned the château until 1754, when it became the property of the Marquis de Castellane, a nobleman from Provence.
He had the castle renovated to bring in some 18th century comforts.
Something special hiding beside the table in this alcove.
One of the outbuildings constructed under the Marquis:
We saw these hungry fish in the moat; they freaked us out:
Death by a thousand hickies
The château changed hands again in 1906 when Joachim Carvallo, a Spanish doctor and art collector, purchased the property.
Moorish craftsmen built this mosaic ceiling in Spain in the 15th century; after purchase it took a year to reassemble in Villandry (3600 pieces!)
Carvallo restored the castle and undertook the huge project of returning the gardens to their original Renaissance glory.
The gardens...oh, the gardens. They are the star of this château.
Very well tended:
Fact: Tractors are sexy
And 10 points for the loveliest use of lettuce I have ever seen:
The grounds are quite large, including a labyrinth, ponds, fountains and a kids' playground - all in separate garden 'rooms' to explore.
As you'd expect, our children had a ball.
The (then) 2 yr old in trouble for trying to jump in the pond with the swans.
In summary: go there! The castle is lovely but the gardens are spectacular. Don't miss it.
And just to wrap up, here's the all-in-one speed meal we had at the restaurant just outside the castle:
Slow-cooked duck with sweet potato mash, quinoa salad, strawbs with Chantilly crème. 'Twas good.
That ends the Spring Trip 2012 series. If you are looking for other posts from this trip, here they all are:
Giverny (Monet's home and gardens)
Château du Clos Lucé (Leonardo da Vinci's last home)
See you soon with Malta photos or a quilt -whichever I finish first!