This winter, why not take advantage of a holiday or a long weekend with a trip visiting the chateaux of the Loire Valley with Europcar?
You’ve already checked out Chambord, Chenonceau, Cheverny and Amboise, but have you thought about the more intimate site of Chaumont-sur-Loire?
The château, registered as a World Heritage Site
This town, located between Amboise and Blois, can boast of having a magnificent chateau that isn’t to be outdone, in comparison to its more famous rivals. The fortress was built in the eleventh century to keep an eye on the borders between the Counts of Blois and Anjou. It suffered a tragic fate and was completely razed by Louis XI, to be rebuilt later. The chateau remained the property of the Amboise family for five centuries before being acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. She took little interest in it and abandoned it ten years later, to the benefit of Diane de Poitiers, making it pass between the hands of two great sovereigns in France’s history. Diane is the one who initiated the projects that would give the chateau its Renaissance look.
Once again in the 19th century, a woman became involved in this buiding’s future: in 1875, Marie-Charlotte-Constance Say and her husband, Prince Henri-Amédée de Broglie, became the new owners of this prestigious place. She oversaw some improvement projects that made this place one of the most famous, especially for its receptions. Some gorgeous stables complete this unique home.
In 1938, the château’s ownership finally passed from those who built it, and enabled it to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and to become the property of the Centre-Val de Loire Region. So, these women fashioned this castle and made it a unique place to discover.
Not only are the chateau and its stables worth a visit, but the Festival des Jardins, which welcomes more than 400,000 visitors a year, is also a must-see attraction.
The internationally renowned garden festival
In 2016, this event celebrated 25 years of existence, and a bright future is in store for it when you think about its great reputation.
Over these 25 years, more than 700 gardens have been designed and created to be shown off during this festival, which took place from 21 April to 2 November (for the 2016 edition) in the Parc du Goualoup, an annex built in 2012 in the historic park.
In tune with today’s questions on everything concerning plants, its conservation and diversity, this event promotes new species and fruit trees. Don’t pass up a unique opportunity to learn about the plants that will respond to the rigours of global warming, for example.
In addition to the scientific aspect, you can simply admire gardens designed to please the senses. Talented landscape designers compete each year by displaying their imagination and expertise to win the prestigious trophy awarded to the most successful garden. What a pleasure it is to soak up the combination of materials, colours and scents without any restraints!
For the rest of the year, the ‘Pré du Goualoup’ park remains open to the public. All you need is a Domaine ticket to admire the enchanting contemporary art installations housed there.
The surrounding area: a trip to Blois
The town of Blois, dominating the Loire Valley and served by a beautiful stone bridge, is worth checking out, if only for its Cathédrale Saint-Louis. This cathedral has been classified as a historic monument since the beginning of the 20th century. Gothic in style, it offers a certain affiliation with Notre Dame de Paris. In the 17th century, it was elevated to the rank of a cathedral. Its walls are an example of longevity: only the Notre-Dame chapel was annexed to it in the second part of the 19th century.
Brightening your visit to this town, the chateau is also remarkable with its quite picturesque Façade des Loges. The Jardins des Lices next to the offer offer a delightful place for a stroll, while maintaining a privileged view of the Façade des Loges. The Jardins de l’Évêché focus on botanical wonders, and you’ll enjoy the different aromatic plants that come one after another all year long. Walking along the narrow streets of Blois, you will be enchanted by the Louis XII fountain, which is also listed as a historic monument.
After discovering so many wonders in such close proximity to each other, there’s no doubt that this getaway will inspire you for your next weekend adventure.