Click on markers to show the name and a thumbnail image of any chateau Mediaeval châteaux; Renaissance châteaux; Later châteaux
Medieval castles in the Loire valley
|Angers||Maine et Loire||One of the greatest medieval fortresses in the west of France, located in the middle of the city of Anger, on the river Maine, a tributary of the Loire|
|Chinon||Indre et Loire||On the banks of the river Vienne, the castle at Chinon was a royal residence in the 12th century. King Henry II of England died here in 1189. Joan of Arc stayed here in 1429. The fortified medieval castle stands on a rock dominating the small town of Chinon .|
|Amboise||Indre et Loire||The château at Amboise was a fortified royal stronghold on the Loire, and its ramparts remain impressive to this day. Inside the ramparts, king Charles VIII ordered the building of a new royal palace in 1490, which was subsequently modified in the Italianate Renaissance style. Leonardo da Vinci came here in 1515, spent the last years of his life here, and was buried here.|
|Sully sur Loire||Loiret||Lying southeast of Orleans, away from the main cluster of Loire châteaux, Sully is an impressive medieval castle that was adapted for more peaceful use in the sixteenth century. It stands in its moat in what is actually an oxbow lake of the river Loire. It once stood guard over one of the points where the Loire could be forded in times of low water.|
Early Renaissance châteaux
|Nevers||Nièvre||Reputedly the first of the Renaissance Loire châteaux, this is quite a bit further down the Loire valley, at the western edge of the region of Burgundy|
|Langeais||Indre et Loire||Historic medieval castle that was converted into a Renaissance château in the early fifteenth century. The Renaissance château still has some features more common to medieval castles.|
|Blois||Loir et Cher||A historirel="nofollow"c royal castle, the Château which stands in the small town of Blois existed well before the Renaissance. The château contains one of the finest medieval gothic halls in France. In the early 16th Century, King François I added a new wing, the Renaissance wing, which is one of the finest pieces of Renaissance architecture in France.|
|Azay le Rideau||Indre et Loire||A château that is very much on the tourist trail, Azay le Rideau stands on an arm of the river Indre which serves it as a moat.|
|Chenonceau||Indre et Loire||Very visited, Chenonceau is no doubt the most romantic of the Loire Chateaux, standing as it does litterally on the river Cher|
|Chambord||Loire et Cher||The iconic French chateau, Chambord is also the biggest and (being also the nearest to Paris) the most visited of the Loire châteaux. Designed as a hunting lodge for King François 1st (François Premier), The castle is surrounded by a purely decorative moat. It was designed in the Italian Renaissance style by Domenico da Cortona, and it is said that Leonardo da Vinci may have had a hand in the design too, while he was living at Amboise|
|Ussé||Indre et Loire||The chateau that stands today was started in the 1540s; it was later extended and embellished in the 16th and 17th centuries, to give it the picturesque romantic aspect it has today.|
|Valançay||Indre||Building started in 1540. The Renaissance chateau was extended in the 17th century.|
|Villandry||Indre et Loire||Alongside a 12th century keep, Jean le Breton, a minister of king François I, built the last of the great Renaissance Loire châteaux, which was completed in 1536|
|Cheverny||Loire et Cher||Another very visited château, Cheverny was actually built in the 1630s, a hundred years after the great period of Renaissance castle building in the Loire valley. Though similar in many ways to the great Renaissance castles, it is built in the seventeenth century classical style.|
. France : there's so much more to discover......
- ► Centre-Val de Loire regional tourism guide
- ► Medieval fortresses Castles and fortresses in other parts of France
- ► French châteaux A choice of the best châteaux to visit all over France
Photo top of page and below : Chambord
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Renaissance stairway in the Chateau at BloisTexts and photos © copyright About-France.com except where otherwise indicated.
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