LOIRE CHATEAUX, FRANCE
«MAY 2015»

Photos © Ruud Leeuw

The holidays to France focussed mainly on a visit to several of the famous Loire castles. At the end the trip our total would be nine, of several sizes and significance. We visited from two locations, Fontevraud and Montrichard.

The Châteaux of the Loire Valley is part of the architectural heritage of the historic towns of Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Nantes, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours along the Loire River in France.
They illustrate the ideals of the Renaissance and the Age of the Enlightenment on French thought and design in the Loire Valley.
By the middle of the 16th century, King Francois I had shifted the center of power in France from the Loire back to the ancient capital of Paris. With him went the great architects, but the Loire Valley continued to be the place where most of the French royalty preferred to spend the bulk of their time.

There is no universally accepted definition for inclusion in 'proper society' as a 'Château of the Loire'. The main criterion for inclusion is generally that the château must be sited on the Loire river or one of its tributaries (such as the Maine, Cher, Indre, Creuse or Loir).

 

 

CHÂTEAU DE BRÉZÉ

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)
We had our minds set on a visit to d'Azay-le-Rideau, but were faced with crowds and ugly renovations, so we drove
of and decided to visit the much smaller Chateau de Brézé. But while there were less people here the ticket sales
were done by only one cashier (3 people standing around, total inefficiency bordering on incompetence).
Here in France you do have to suffer your daily portion of frustration to get anywhere.

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)
This kid has figured it out too: what is this nonsense all about?
The line went through several small rooms so one did not get an idea of how
long the queue actually was. And only to find out it was as expensive as other castles
which had much more to show and on offer. Better go elsewhere, meanwhile enjoy these images!

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)
Entering the grounds after finally having secured a ticket. But the information leaflets were depleted, grrrr.

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)
Richelieu's bedroom is the oldest room in the castle. But reading below brochure I doubt this is Mr Richelieu..?
Perhaps Henri Evrard, Marquis de Dreux-Brézé (1762-1829)?

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)
A few richly decorated rooms were available, I suppose due to the fact the castle is still lived in?

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)
A thing that stands out with Brézé castle are the catacombs, underground tunnels leading
to the dry moat and wine cellars.

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)

 

Château de Brézé is a small, dry-moated castle located in Brézé, near Saumur in the Loire Valley, France.
The château was transformed during the 16th and the 19th centuries.
The current structure is Renaissance in style yet retains medieval elements including a drawbridge and a 12th-century trogloditic basement.
Today, it is the residence of descendants of the ancient lords. The château is a listed ancient monument originally dating from 1060.
A range of wines are produced at the château which has 30 hectares of vineyards.
[Wikipedia]

 

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)
The soft rocks in this area makes making caves quite easy; they are ideal for storing wine, but I have read also
of growing mushrooms in these caves and storing equipment. People actually lived in these caves as well.

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)
Wine-making equipment.

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)

Brézè Castle (Loire Chateau)
Quite an impressive sight, but the irritation suffered while buying a visitor ticket spoiled this visit a bit for me.

 
 

 

CHÂTEAU DE MONTSOREAU

Chateau de Montsoreau
The Château de Montsoreau was constructed in 1455 by Jean de Chambes, a senior councillor to King Charles VII. Erected on the bank of the Loire river, it was a strategic fortress, controlling river traffic between Chinon
and Saumur. In fact the castle of Montsoreau has an exceptional position at the confluence of two rivers, the
Loire and the Vienne, and at the meeting point of three historic regions: Anjou, Poitou and Touraine.
Unlike other castles by the Loire, Montsoreau was directly built in the river. (From Wikipedia)
Below historic images illustrate this:
Chateau de Montsoreau
Later the water level of the river lowered to more or less its present situation:
Chateau de Montsoreau

Chateau de Montsoreau
Amazing to stand on something built in the Middle Ages and to look out on two nuclear powerplants!

Chateau de Montsoreau
Overlooking the village but also the caves cut in the rocks, as also seen at Château de Brézé.

Château de Monsoreau
A presentation in this castle on the cave dwellings

Château de Monsoreau

Château de Monsoreau
A presentation of the view on the river from the caves, with boats seen passing these cave dwellings.

Château de Monsoreau
What makes a visit to Château de Monsoreau different from visits to other castles is that its presentation
focusses primarely on the importance of the river, the commerce and importance of its traffic.

Château de Monsoreau

Château de Monsoreau
Some idea of the ships used on the Loire river

Château de Monsoreau
Products transported and traded

Château de Monsoreau
Windmills of shapes and sizes. They were also placed on boats but were a danger to river traffic.

Château de Monsoreau
There was a nice collection of windvanes on display here, of many shapes and sizes.

Château de Monsoreau
A fine computerized display 'painted' on the walls about castle construction and decorations

Château de Monsoreau
I was impressed by this hi-tec display to illustrate castle building

Château de Monsoreau
More hi-tec and equally well done. On mannequins were various dresses projected by light display, impressive.

Château de Monsoreau
Dressed by light projections, but the background was not forgotten and a tapestry put in place.

Château de Monsoreau
Château de Monsoreau features as the location of a novel by Alexandre Dumas.

Château de Monsoreau
Having seen the use of hi-tec displays here, it comes as no surprise that some of the history in this novel,
La Dame de Monsoreau, is put right by projections of these three actors. Nicely done, very entertaining.

Château de Monsoreau
Space for rent for use of conferences, receptions and such. Quite an ambience!

Château de Monsoreau
Some leftovers or perhaps pieces under restoration

Château de Monsoreau
We enjoyed this visit very much!

Château de Monsoreau

LINKS of the various pages reporting on this trip
FRANCE 2015
HONFLEUR
RENNES
LOIRE CHATEAUX: Montreuil-Bellay & Saumur & Langeais
LOIRE CHATEAUX: Villandry, Chenonceau & Beauregard
ORADOUR-SUR-GLANE

EXTERNAL LINKS:
en.wikipedia.org:_Châteaux of the Loire Valley


 

 

CHÂTEAU DE VILLANDRY

Château de Villandry This castle-palace is rather renown for its gardens but the rooms of the castle offer great splendour too, plus the gardens are well enjoyed looking out over them from the castle (esspecially from the castle tower).

Château de Villandry

The lands where an ancient fortress once stood were known as Colombier until the 17th century. When acquired in the early 16th century by Jean Le Breton, France's Controller-General for War under King Francis I, a new château was constructed around the original 14th-century keep where King Philip II of France once met Richard I of England to discuss peace. (Wikipedia)

 

Château de Villandry

Château de Villandry Note that the ceiling makes you believe you are looking out at the sky, a welcome relief from the overdose of red in this room, I daresay.

Château de Villandry Present owners / occupants decorate the walls in this room.

Château de Villandry Looking up..

Château de Villandry 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 Jérôme Bonaparte.

Château de Villandry Not so much here in terms or armoury, too much a palace rather than a castle, but nice all the same.

Time to look at the gardens from up high.. Château de Villandry

Château de Villandry In 1906, Joachim Carvallo purchased the property and poured an enormous amount of time, money and devotion into repairing it and creating these beautiful gardens. Its famous Renaissance gardens include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, and vegetable gardens. The gardens are laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges.

Château de Villandry The magnificent view from the tower.

 

LINKS of the various pages reporting on this trip
FRANCE 2015
HONFLEUR

RENNES

LOIRE CHATEAUX: Montreuil-Bellay & Saumur & Langeais
LOIRE CHATEAUX: Chenonceau & Loches & Beauregard
ORADOUR-SUR-GLANE

EXTERNAL LINKS: en.wikipedia.org:_Châteaux of the Loire Valley