The gardens at Chateau de Villandry
Perhaps the Loire Valley’s most famous gardens, those at Villandry are enchanting. The symmetry of the beds, trimmed with absolute precision, and the harmony of the floral arrangements... from one terrace to the next, these green expanses are a symbol of perfect beauty. In one spot a labyrinth to get lost in, in another a kitchen garden checkered like an embroidery. With its harp-shaped boxwood, the ornamental garden could be an outdoor music room. The water gardens catch the sunlight and prompt dreams of long summer evenings, while the ‘Jardin des Simples’ captures the important properties of aromatic and medicinal plants.
Chateau de Villandry (External link)
More about the Chateau de Villandry: “500 ans de RenaissanceS”: a feast fit for you (and a king)!
The ladies’ gardens at Chateau de Chenonceau
At this chateau belonging to two rival ladies, each one has her own garden. Diane de Poitiers’ garden is imposing with its eight large triangles of lawn, raised terraces planted with yew, charcoal, boxwood and laurel, and its rigorously geometric flowerbeds. With roses, ivy, lavender and fountains, the garden of Catherine de Medici is more intimate, a verdant space opening out from the west facade of the chateau and the famous gallery spanning the Cher.
Leonardo’s garden at Chateau de Clos-Lucé
It was at Chateau du Clos-Lucé, at the invitation of Francis I, that Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life devoted to the culmination of his brilliant inventions. By walking in the Garden of Leonardo, a bucolic English park, you can fully appreciate the influence of nature on his work. Caves, springs, belvederes and waterfalls, a pool lined with hundred-year-old pines, yew trees and Italian cypresses, rose gardens and a charming little two-storey bridge... the landscaped, playful and educational visitor route passes 20 lifesize machines that can be manipulated, and 40 giant canvases. A memorable green space at the heart of Leonardo’s inspiration.
The Garden of Naples at the Royal Chateau d’Amboise
This is the last landscaping of this proud chateau overlooking the Loire, burial place of Leonardo da Vinci. The Garden of Naples displays the Italian influence of the past and was the first garden conceived here, in the 15th century, by a Neapolitan monk gardener. As in the villas of the Medici in Tuscany, terracotta pots compartmentalize the flowerbeds and punctuate the plant composition according to the seasons. It’s a lovely place to meditate with panoramic views of the great river.
The gardens of the National Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire
Overlooking the Loire, the Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire looks like something straight out of a fairytale. Each year for its international garden festival, it’s home to stunning planted creations born of the fertile imaginations of world-class artists and designers. Outside the competition, its beautiful paths and charming flowerbeds strewn with multicoloured flowers are tempting places to stroll all year round.
The landscaped park of Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau
Built on an island between two arms of the river, the Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau is the height of romanticism. Its large, recently restored, landscaped park sets the tone, conceived in English style with fairways, soft curves, surprising views, flowering undergrowth and mirrors of water reflecting the infinite beauty and serenity of the place.
The gardens of Chateau de Chambord
These occupy six and a half hectares at the foot of the north façade, with figures (from 2017) attesting to their magnificence: 600 trees, 800 shrubs, 200 roses, 15,250 plants and 18,874m² of lawns. The gardens of Chateau de Chambord, the largest and most majestic Loire chateau, were commissioned by Francis I and conceived by Leonardo da Vinci, and deserved a restoration project of such magnitude. A royal beauty.
Find out more:
- Prepare your trip to the Loire Valley (External link)
- Program "500 years of Renaissance in the Loire Valley" (External link)
- A birds’ eye view of the Loire Valley’s chateau, with Alex MacLean
- “500 ans de RenaissanceS”: a feast fit for you (and a king)!
- All you need to know about the Loire Valley chateaux in 5 minutes