Azay-le-Rideau Revels in Her New-Found Glory
The Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, 25 km from Tours, built under the reign of King Francis I, is a masterwork of 16th century Renaissance architecture, perched majestically on an island carved out by the River Indre and surrounded by a romantic 19th century garden. After undergoing a massive 3-year makeover, it finally rolled out the red carpet last July, ready to show off its new look!
The complete overhaul involved not only the château, considered by many as the most magical of the Loire Valley châteaux. It also covered its sculpted white stone façade reflected in two mirrors of water, and its immense landscaped park studded with age-old trees. You’ll tour the newly renovated and exquisitely furnished 19th century private apartments of the Marquis de Biencourt family, the owners at the time, as well as the revamped 16th century kitchen and the attic with its original framework.
Other surprises in store for you: a dreamlike journey on the 1st floor designed by a team of wildly inventive artists (click here for a view), an impressive array of state-of-the-art audio and multimedia tools, and a new app for your mobile. Check out the new Exhibition space in the ‘Pressoir’ for a fully immersive tour with lots of cool music, beautiful imagery, and some very slick graphics and digital animation.
To see in the immediate area:
The Château de l’Islette, a discreet, privately-owned, and very gracious little château, known mainly for its striking resemblance to its ‘big brother’ and neighbour, Azay-le-Rideau, and as the scene for the torrid love affair between Camille Claudel and Rodin.
The Château de l’Aulée, a vineyard near Azay-le-Rideau, run by two charming sisters who specialize in crémant, a sparkling, classy white wine made from local grapes that rivals champagne and cost two to three times less!
Some suggestions on where to eat and sleep while you’re there:
Auberge Pom’Poire: Top-rated restaurant in a 3-star country inn, just north of Azay-le-Rideau.
La Toue Charme: Traditional Loire riverboat with accommodation for two; anchored at La Chapelle-aux-Naux, about 10 km from Azay.
Hôtel Le Grand Monarque: 3-star boutique hotel in a converted 18th century post house, 150 m from the château. Bistro-style restaurant.
Hôtel Troglododo: Unconventional 3-star hotel in a troglodyte cliff dwelling, 1.6 km from the château.
also to discover
Are you looking for a hotel, bed and breakfast, campsite, gite or traditional horse-drawn caravan? Discover all our accommodation ideas for your stay in the Loire Valley.