Known for magnificent and impressive stately monuments, the Loire Valley is a region any history-loving traveller should visit.
If you were to simply follow the Loire River through this department, you will be graced with several imposing Châteaux that draw the eye and force you to take a longer look.
All are different; some resemble castles whilst others suggest pompous bloodlines would have, at one time, resided in the grounds of the grandiose homes that stretch around the countryside.
So which Châteaux are pictured above?
Château De Montgeoffroy
Situated about 30 minutes from Angers, in Mazé, France, this aristocratic 18th century manor house built by Sir Jean Benoît Vincent Barré, has managed to survive the French Revolution and is home to several pieces of original furniture dating back to the time of Louis XVth. Look closely and you may be able to see that the two round towers and the chapel actually belong to the original chateau that was built back in the 16th century.
What makes Château De Montgeoffroy stand out? It remains the same as when it was built and provides visitors with a glimpse of the privileged lifestyle that very few would have been accustomed to during this era.
Le Château D’Usse
On the edge of the Chinon Forest stands one of the most incredible sights.
Château D’Usse, which is probably more commonly known as Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, is a building straight out of a fairytale. Built on the foundations of an 11th century fortress, Usse rises up from the ground with majestic elegance.
Wondering around the outside you begin to understand how Perrault gained his inspiration to write the famous enchanted story. You only have to look at the rounded staircases, featured at each corner, towering upwards towards spires that resemble a sorcerer’s hat to see where the spark for the story comes from. Add to this the opulently designed rooms, the dungeons and the beautifully maintained gardens which all combined create a truly magical looking château; a castle fit for a sleeping beauty.
To find out more visit: http://www.chateaudusse.fr/
Le Château de Serrant
Built on the remains of a medieval fortress, this stunning renaissance château dates back to the 14th century. Surrounded by an impressive moat, large well-maintained gardens, a large lake and stunning views stretching out across the Loire Valley this is an ideal place for a picnic.
Wander inside, past the heavy wooden doors and into the large, open corridors where history has been lovingly preserved. Explore the heavily gilded room belonging long ago to a princess before roaming around the prince’s quarter before climbing the cooling stone-carved stairwells which offer a stark contrast to the lavishly designed rooms but help to demonstrate the skill involved in building such an ostentatious home.
For more details visit: http://www.chateau-serrant.net/
Each château, and there is over 300 of them, offers something slightly different. With many to visit, it can be hard to decide where to start but be assured wherever you go you will not be disappointed.
Which château would you most like to visit?
Perhaps you have visited a château outside of France that should be on our ‘to-visit’ list; let us know more about it.
Disclaimer: We were provided with free admission to each of the Chateaux we visited during our recent tour of the Loire Valley.