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Chateau Villandry in the Loire Valley, France.

By Sue Webster – 
Here is a story about the Chateau Villandry in the Loire Valley, France.  We visited this garden in 2007 and were stunned with the beauty of these gardens.  If you only have time to visit a couple of chateaux when in France, this is a must.

THE GARDENS OF CHATEAU VILLANDRY, FRANCE

The Chateau of Villandry is the last of the great chateaux in the Loire, built during the Renaissance in the Loire Valley. Located about three hours from Paris on the banks of the Loire River, the chateau is renowned for its elegant architecture, but it is especially well known for its gardens that spread across three terraces and combine aesthetics, diversity and harmony. (Photo 1)

The Chateau Villandry dates from 1536 when it was built by one of King Francois 1 finance ministers, Jean le Breton. It was confiscated during the French Revolution before eventually being acquired for Joseph Bonaparte in the early 1800s. A Dr Joachim Carvallo purchased the Chateau in 1906 and spent a great deal of time and money restoring the chateau and gardens back to Renaissance style, which is what you see today.

The castle’s gardens are the reconstruction of a 14th century French garden based on ancient texts. The gardens are divided into four terraces, consisting of six gardens. Linden trees, yews and hornbeams are used extensively to surround the different gardens.

The Renaissance kitchen garden is composed of nine equally sized squares but inside of which the geometric patterns are all different. It has a profusion of colourful flowers and vegetables planted in a chequerboard plan. The effect of the seasonal variations is an ever-changing three dimensional picture. (Photo 2)

In the ornamental garden the box hedges form musical symbols, but pride of place is given to hearts, scrolls, butterflies and fans and more, all of which make up the four sections of the garden of love. When you climb up to the belvedere you can enjoy a magnificent view of the garden of love in its four sections – tender love, passionate love, fickle love and tragic love. (Photo 3)

The water garden is the most tranquil. It is a classic creation based around a pool representing a Louis XV mirror and surrounded by a cloister of linden trees. Here the pool takes centre stage, with the sound of the fountains and the great lawn space bringing calmness and tranquility. (Photo 4)

 

The herb garden or garden of simples, has many medicinal and culinary plants which were traditional to the Middle Ages.

The arboured maze, where the goal is to find spiritual awakening as you make your way to the central platform.

 

The Sun Garden which was created in 2008. It consists of three rooms, the Children’s Chamber where there are outdoor games and decorative apple trees, the Sun Chamber with a sun shaped ornamental pond and the Cloud Chamber where little grassy avenues form triangles and wind their way through roses and shrubs.

 

Villandry is stilled owned by the Carvallo family, and is one of the most visited chateaux in France. In 2007 it received over 330,000 visitors.

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