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Royal secretaries and builders at the Château of Villandry

Through its new exhibition, Villandry will be paying tribute to all the royal secretaries of Francis I, who were major builders of the Loire châteaux.

Although few people are aware of the fact, royal secretaries played a key role in the construction of châteaux during the reign of Francis I. They brought new architectural styles that seemed highly audacious at the time, but which in fact heralded early classical French architecture. Four of the finest Loire Valley residences owe their construction to a royal secretary: Chenonceau, Azay-le-Rideau, Bury and Villandry, the latter of which is dedicating an exhibition to these figures from June to December. Visitors will discover the history of these new lords and, in particular, that of Jean le Breton who was the author of Villandry. As Minister for the King’s Finance, he not only bestowed upon the château its flawless proportions, but also worked to create harmony between the building itself and the gardens.