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Le chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau

Le château of Azay-Le-Rideau

The Château d'Azay-le-Rideau is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful jewels of the Loire Valley...even if it is built on the banks of the river Indre !

Built (in its current version) in the 16th century, the castle is a perfect example of French Renaissance architecture. Surrounded by a large park and bordered by its “mirror” (a diverted arm of the river Indre) in which it is reflected, it offers the spectacle of one of the most elegant and romantic castles of the Loire. Today the castle is open to the public and attracts thousands of visitors every year.

A castle with multiple owners

The history of the current Château d’Azay-le-Rideau dates back to the early 16th century, when Gilles Berthelot, a prosperous financier (and mayor of Tours), bought the land on which the château now stands. Berthelot began building the castle in 1515, but had to interrupt the work due to financial problems. The castle was then offered by King François 1er to one of his comrades in arms, Antoine Raffin, who completed the construction work.

The Château d’Azay-le-Rideau is a perfect example of French Renaissance architecture. It was built in tufa stone, the local material traditionally used in the region and emblematic of the castles of the Loire. The castle is also characterized by its pointed roofs, mullioned windows, ornate chimneys and delicate carvings.

The list of owners of the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau is long and sometimes uncertain given the multiple and complex successions it has known over the centuries: the Saint-Gelais, Vassé, and Courtemanche families just before the Revolution, then the family of the Marquis de Biencourt from 1791 who undertook a major restoration campaign. After several episodes of rapid detentions by various property dealers, it was finally purchased by the state in 1905.

Today, the castle of Azay-le-Rideau is a national monument, open to the public and which offers a great experience to its (many) visitors. The chateau is furnished with period furniture, tapestries and paintings, which offer insight into the lives of French nobles in the 16th century. Visitors can also admire the castle gardens, which were designed in a classic French style.

"A diamond set by the river Indre..."

The castle of Azay-le-Rideau is also known for its cultural events throughout the year. It hosts concerts, exhibitions and shows, as well as special events for children. Visitors can also take part in guided tours, which provide a more in-depth experience of the castle and its history.

Besides history and architecture, the Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau is also known for its importance in French culture. It has been the setting for several movies, TV shows and literary works. Balzac described it as “a faceted diamond set by the river Indre”. It is also considered one of the most emblematic monuments of the Loire and has been listed as a heritage historical monument since 1875.

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