#Take12Trips

Chateaux of the Loire

The Take 12 Trips Challenge is the perfect initiative for anybody with a wanderlust. Whether you’re a novice navigator or an accomplished adventurer.

The challenge encourages everybody to take a trip away each month. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to get your passport out. It can be as simple as paying a visit to the museum around the corner, or visiting somewhere in your hometown that you’ve always ignored. Alternatively, if you want to take a far-flung flight, then feel free!

For our blog, we’re focusing on European getaways, and have already suggested some of our favourite destinations, including Wallonia, Wroclaw and more. This time, we pay a visit to the Loire Valley in France, home to some of the most beautiful chateaux in the country

Header image: Pedro Szekely

Chaumont

Chateaux de Chaumont was rebuilt on the ruins of the original chateaux here, which dated back to the 10th century. Chaumont is known for its rather esteemed company, and can boast many owners which were members of the early French monarchy.

These days, Chateaux de Chaumont is publicly owned, and is home to a magnificent museum, open for most of the year. It also holds a spectacular garden exhibition each year from April-October, where you can wander the chateau’s grounds.

Photo: murielle29 

D'Angers

Of all of the Loire Valley Chateaux, D’Angers is the one with the richest and most royal heritage. This chateau was originally a Roman fortress, before being adapted into a chateau in the 9th century and then restored in the 16th century.

For a long period of time, D’Angers was a military academy attended by the Duke of Wellington, among others. These days, however, it is maintained as a museum housing magnificent, historical tapestries.

Photo: Dennis Jarvis

Chenonceau

An iconic and spectacular chateau, perhaps one of the most famous chateaux in France, Chenonceau has an incredibly rich history. With a string of rich and famous owners, including royalty, merchants and other such gentry since the 11th century, it has a fascinating back story.

The chateau as it is was rebuilt in the 16th century and renovated in the 1950s to create the new, striking interior, which matches the stunning architecture of one of France’s most famous buildings.

Chenonceau is the most-visited chateau in the Loire Valley and its beautiful gardens are open to the public too.

Photo: Benh LIEU SONG 

D’Azay Le Rideau

A subtle blend of classic French and Italian architecture, D’Azay Le Rideau is a wonderful chateau which dates back as far as the 12th century. Originally built as a fortress, this location has been fought over countless times, and been an important strategic point for centuries. Reconstructed in the 16th century, and then restored and renovated in the 19th century, it is one of the more modern chateaux in the Loire Valley.

These days, the chateau is managed by the National Monuments Society, but in the past has been home to French royalty and aristocracy.

Photo: Anna & Michal

Villandry

A chateau which was built on the site of an ancient fortress. The chateau dates back to the 14th century and was renovated extensively during the early 20th century.

These renovations include some of the most magnificent gardens to be found anywhere in the world and are hugely popular with tourists. Once owned by the family of Napoleon, this chateau is a must-see for anybody visiting the region.

Photo: vasse nicolas,antoine

Loches

Another chateau with a rich royal history, Chateau de Loches is one of the most historic of the Loire Valley. Formerly a huge military stronghold, Henry II, Richard the Lionheart, Charles VII of France and King Louis XI have all lived within the walls of this magnificent building.

It was also used as a prison during the American Civil war and ransacked throughout the French Revolution, there are parts of the chateau today which are still in ruins. Today it is owned by the local Commune of Loches and is home to a collection of suits of amazing suits of armour, as well as a wonderful church which is open to the public.

Photo: Daniel Jolviet 

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