Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Château de Villandry, Loire Valley

This post outlines some of our adventures on our Spring Trip in April/May 2012.

The Circle of Moms Top 25 European Blogs voting ends tomorrow (Nov 21st). I'm not sure if I'm going to make it so if you've ever enjoyed a tutorial or photo on this blog I sure would appreciate your support with a vote. It only takes two clicks!

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.

Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley, France

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.

View over the gardens at Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley

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.

Dining room inside the castle at Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley, France

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!


  1. Beautiful post as usual! And I can't believe your littlest is 2 either...

    I went and voted too. :)

  2. Beautiful. It is on my list.
    Voted too.
    Did you see the lights on the Cours Mirabeau? I love them:-)
    And they were setting up the boots...

  3. Voted...again! As I continue to marvel over your stunning photography Kirsty, I wish (in the nicest possible way!!) you weren't coming home to Australia ! I will miss you bringing me such wonderful visual snippets of France! Maybe Mr can getting another exotic posting?!

  4. Another voter here... Such a great post again. I must repeat myself: I love your photos. The Loire Valley is still unexplored territory to me. We have always headed straight to the South of France, even the times we drove all the way from Finland to spend our 4-week summer holiday there when my grown-ups were young. (Well, 3-weeks there as the driving back and forth took one week. And yes, our holidays are that long + one week during winter.)

    I did attend a conference in Tours once and now I see this castle would have been so close, even closer than the one where we had the conference dinner. It was Château d'Amboise by the river where the King was staying when he provided Leonardo with his final home, the near-by Château du Clos Lucé. There is a chapel there with Leonardo's tomb and they say there is an underground passageway between these two castles. I wonder whether it is intact these days.

    I definitely have to go through the above list of posts as well as add Loire Valley - and probably a few other regions - to my list!

  5. Beautiful images Kirsty. The Château de Villandry is somewhere I've always wanted to visit and I'm sure a lot of the attraction is the colours of the stone and brick which you've totally captured here. Lovely :)

  6. Love the garden. But why didn't you let him play with the swans? And how many people does it take to keep those hedges trimmed? Wow

  7. Amazing - and don't you wonder about the castle he tore down?!

    (I've been voting for you! Good luck!)

    1. Yes, yes - I did. It's just amazing that someone would tear down a medieval castle. Apparently it was the spot where Phillip II of France forced Henry II of England to succeed some land just before the later died. When I walk around these places it gives me goose bumps thinking of who has walked there before me.

  8. Amazing! It does make me feel slovenly for allowing weeds to go in our patch of a garden. I must make more of an effort. And I'm heading off to vote now...

  9. Beautiful gardens!!!

    I've been voting too. :)

  10. Will the quilt be a EPP version of that Spanish Ceiling?..just asking...
    Great photos as always Kirsty.

  11. As much as I can't wait to meet you when you come back to Oz, I'm with Suz, I kind of wish you were staying in France so that we could continue to see your beautiful photographs accompanied by your entertaining travel tips!
    Such beautiful photos Kirsty, this will definitely be going on my list of places to visit next time in France.

  12. Just voted for you again. You are definitely my top European Blog! I'll miss you when you're gone, but looking forward to the pics from Oz. Hope all your followers vote for you today!

  13. Beautiful gardens! Such lovely colours and shapes. The fish really are a bit scary, though...

    Love the idea of the ready meal! Very funny and stylish and looks yummy, too! :-)

  14. Not a bad wee pad there. Wouldn't like to have the gardener's bill though...

  15. I think that you must have seen every castle in France!
    1. those fish would have totally freaked me out too, they look hungry, and evil.
    2. the photo of your two oldest is too precious for words
    3. that meal... holy crap.
    4. congrats on making the top 25! xx

  16. Congratulations on being in the top 25!!


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