Christmas in the land of French Châteaux

The Loire Valley comes alive during Christmas season.
From the beginning of December to the beginning of January, seven great chateaux of the Loire Valley will be getting into the festive spirit with renewed thematic tours and various entertainment: it’s "Christmas in the land of Chateaux ©"!
Come along for a perfect opportunity for you and your family to discover a unique heritage along with the
magic of Christmas and all its traditions, and get some ideas for what to put under your own tree!

Chateau of Villandry: A family Christmas in the heart of gardens

Visitors are invited to spend a cozy Christmas at the chateau of Villandry, a family home.Discover the traditional Carvallo family Christmas decorations in every room (living room, kitchen, bedrooms), inspired by the Hispanic origins of Joachim Carvallo and the Anglo-Saxon origins of Ann Coleman. Visitors have the pleasure of admiring the wintery gardens from the windows: the kitchen garden with its winter vegetables, the mosaics of box wood edges and the yew topiary silhouettes. You will feel like walking in the gardens and the alleys bordered with bare lime trees. Nature will also be present inside, through the richly ornate Christmas trees and mantelpieces. As night falls, the dim light will reveal the majesty of this winter garden.

Chateau of Chenonceau: the mythical animals

As the 500th century anniversary of the French Renaissance has been celebrated in 2019, Chenonceau will celebrate Christmas through mythical fables. With the 16th century "great discoveries", unknown plants were introduced to Europe. Real treasures arrived from Asia, America and Africa. Exotic produce and heretofor unknown animals started to be represented on the large tapestries covering the walls of our chateaux. The aristolochia is the perfect example of a theme inspired by "the discovery of America": silver Peruvian pheasants, pineapples, orchids
and pomegranates…Come and discover the magic of Christmas at Chenonceau.

Royal City of Loches: The Nutcracker

This is a major historical place where visitors are invited to explore classic tales which have contributed to our present day image of Christmas. This year, adults and children alike will become immersed in the fantastic world of "The Nutcracker" a tale written by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann in 1816. To complete this lively experience of a magical Christmas experience, entertainment will be planned for the old and young alike.

Royal Chateau of Amboise: Christmas dreams from childhood, King Teddy bear

When they were young and before they became kings of France, Charles the 8th and François the 1st lived and celebrated the festive seasons at the royal chateau in Amboise. Naturally, visitors will be invited to remember the joyful moments they had at Christmas when they were children. For this 2019 edition, a sweet and cuddly guest star, will grace the chateau with his presence: King Teddy bear. Dozens of white and brown bears will take residence at the chateau for this festive season (thanks to partnerships with one of the last teddy bear factory in France "Les Petites Maries©" and the old toys museum in Waenbrechies). You'll see them in the rooms of the chateau until they meet the King size Teddy bear in the throne hall. This exhibition will be the opportunity to know everything about the bear legends of the past to the "teddy bear" of our childhood.

Chateau of Langeais: Christmas treasures

You're invited to discover the pleasures and the luxury displayed during the Middle-Ages in a chateau for Christmas. Inside the banquet room, you will find a table with a bountiful medieval traditional meal. Inside the bedrooms, precious gowns will be displayed during the celebration of this festive and refined time of the year. By candlelight, the flower arrangements will make this medieval home even more magical.

Royal fortress of Chinon: at the foot of the Christmas tree

This year, at the Royal fortress of Chinon, the Christmas decoration will take you back to the 20th century! From the end of the 19th century with the renowned shop windows of the Parisian department stores to the 1990s, you will follow this visit with a little bit of nostalgia. Let yourself be taken by the emotion of your dearest memories! (with the collaboration of the Cholet games and toys museums). See also an exhibition of vintage Christmas posters. You'll be delighted to discover an original work of art created by the glass designer Verart, a local glass producer. And, inside the towers of the fortress, you will be invited to discover original artistic versions of the Christmas tree.

Chateau of Azay-Le-Rideau: Christmas, dreams of sweets and treats

Of all the pleasures associated with Christmas, treating oneself to treats is high on the list! And that’s perfect because all over the chateau, you will find all kinds of sweets and candies. As you tour the rooms of this precious Renaissance chateau – the living room, the kitchen, the dining room, the attics- you will discover the astonishing Christmas decorations beautifully arranged and will be immersed in a sweet, delicious and festive atmosphere. Enjoy it fully!

A few ideas for things to put under the Christmas tree

Isabelle in Touraine: homemade perfumed candles…in Touraine! (External link)

Homemade perfumes candles
In their workshop in Cinq-Mars-la-Pile, Isabelle and Philippe Galliot create candles with natural wax like soja wax, linseed wax or bee wax and refuse to use toxic products. Isabelle and Philippe carefully choose quality base material and use more perfume than the average market. The candle collection "ISABELLE EN TOURAINE" is inspired from our heritage: gingerbread, tonka bean, bergamot, mandarin—it's difficult to choose amongst all these delicate fragrances available!

La Tourangelle®: a unique and typically French Christmas log (External link)

What would be Christmas in France without this sweet delicacy! This pastry looks like a fanciful Yule log and reminds us of a medieval tradition: a big wooden log had to burn out very slowly while the families celebrated Christmas.
In Touraine, several pastry chefs developed a common recipe for a unique "bûche de Noël", they called La Tourangelle®. It is made of crispy almond and walnut biscuit, vanilla custard and apples cooked in salted caramel. This delicious pastry is guaranteed to be a successful end to a Christmas meal!

Wreath-shaped goat cheese (External link)

Wreath shaped goat cheese
Goat cheese is a well-known local specialty that may take on various shapes: the wreathshaped from Loches is a round cheese with a hole in the middle, which is different from the sainte-maure-de-touraine PDO cheese, which is long and log-shaped. It is possible to taste it at the farm where it was created (Fréval farm in Betz le chateau) (External link) .The cheese is sold at the farm every day until 12:00pm.It is also possible to find it in town in a cheese shop "À la crèmerie du chateau"!

Macaroons from Cormery (External link)

These ring shaped biscuit was created by the monks of the local abbey of Cormery (small charming village situated between Loches and Tours) during the 8th century. One says that those macaroons are the oldest in France. If ever you succeed in finding out why the macaroon is ring-shaped, the Chef may reveal his recipe made up of almond powder, icing sugar, powder sugar and egg white.

Glass blown Christmas balls, at the Dumas factory (External link)

Glass blown Christmas balls
This factory has been around for more than 60 years. It has such a high quality of glass that it is worldwide renowned. Their specialty is the making of technical and scientific objects, but the team has had a try in the creation of modern decorative objects. At the occasion of the festive season, a collection of glass blown Christmas balls are created each year. Visitors are welcome in the workshop and the showroom of the factory all year long by appointment only.

Corolle dolls (External link)

Corolle dolls
The Corolle company was founded in Langeais, here in the Touraine, in 1979. It has now become a leading brand renowned for the quality of its dolls and the traditional French expertise with which they are made. With its delicate vanilla scent, a Corolle doll also represents a bond which enables a mom to share a little part of her childhood with her little one. Just a few minutes’ walk from the "A thousand festive lights".

An original gift - a truffle oak and its produce! (External link)

A group of young truffle growers have now launched an original venture: they are offering the chance to sponsor a truffle oak which they will then look after with tender loving care. In return, each year (right from year 1), you'll get half of the truffles your tree produces! You can come and collect our truffles in person at the estate in Chinon or call in at one of their warehouses (in Tours and Paris). A great treat for a loved one—or yourself!

Christmas wicker decoration,with the basket makers from Villaines-les-Rochers. (External link)

Villaines-les-Rochers is one of the French well-known cities for wicker work with dozens of craftsmen living in the village. Wicker is locally grown and prepared. It becomes, thanks to the expert’s know-how, useful traditional objects or modern decorative ones! With the coming of the festive season, some of these craftsmen create original wicker Christmas decorations to ornate your Christmas tree: balls, stars and small figures.

Saffron produced in Touraine! (External link)

This well-known yellowish orange color spice has always been amongst chef’s favorites. The saffron flower is a variety of crocus blooming in autumn. After the harvest in October, the three orange stigmas are separated from the flower and dried for more than a yeat. Saffron has been well known in Touraine since the Middle-Ages. The use of traditional techniques and the respect of the environment make the saffron of Touraine a high quality product, found in the most refined of our restaurants.