The history of Villandry
Of all the beautiful destinations in France, perhaps none embody the country’s charm as much as Villandry, a commune located in the Indre-et-Loire department. Covering an area of just under 7 square miles and home to a mere 2,000 residents, Villandry’s quaintness is delightfully inviting. But don’t let its small size fool you – the area happens to boast some of the richest history around and is famous worldwide for its most popular attraction, the Chateau de Villandry. It is a lovely place to visit with an intriguing history and some incredible landscapes that must be experienced first-hand to truly be appreciated.
The famous castle located in Villandry has a long, rich and somewhat tragic history. It was first built by Jean le Breton in the early 16th Century and was constructed upon the foundation of a medieval fortress, at the foot of which an ill-fated meeting took place between the king of France, Philippe II August and the king of England, Henri II Plantagenet in 1189. In the year 1754 the castle was acquired by Marquis de Castellane but was shortly thereafter confiscated during the French Revolution.
One of the most noteworthy aspects of this massive structure is the exquisite architecture that was used in its design. Crafted in the style of Renaissance, the chateau boasts some unique features which set it apart from other castles in the area. For instance, it features a courtyard that is open, as opposed to the traditional closed-off style. This was a somewhat risky design move as it rendered that part of the castle defenseless; however today it provides a lovely, welcoming feel to visitors.
The beautiful gardens of Villandry
The Chateau de Villandry is also host to some of the most beautiful gardens in the world. All of the gardens were expertly designed to be perfectly symmetrical, with paths intersecting at right angles. There are a variety of different types of gardens to stroll through, including ornamental flower gardens, a water garden and vegetable gardens where 40 different types of veggies are grown. Visitors are consistently amazed by the spectacular colors, from the red tomatoes, purple eggplants and yellow peppers of the vegetable garden to the vivid blooms of the multitude of oriental flowers that grow throughout. There’s even a love garden which features color-coded sections of flowers each representing a different feeling or emotion.
In 1906 the Chateau de Villandry was purchased by Joachim Carvallo and has remained in his family ever since. It continues to be a point of interest for travelers from around the world. No trip to France would be complete without a visit to Villandry and this spectacular castle. Take a stroll around the grounds, admire the incredible architecture and take in a view of the magnificent gardens from the towers above. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget !
Visit the Chateau de Villandry during our Loire Valley Secrets tour, find out more : http://www.discoverfrance.com/tours/self-guided/cycling/loire-valley-secrets