Sunday, April 23, 2017

Monday April 17 Villandry - Gardens Galore

Our route to Villandry and Ussé
Villandry is high on our list of châteaux to see because it is reknowned for it's gardens. Nearby is the "Sleeping Beauty" castle, château d'Ussé. These are our points of interest for today, but they are far away - more than an hour by car, even traveling on the Autoroute (like our Interstates) where the speed limit is 130 km/hour (about 80 mph). Dave gets our croissants at 7 am when the bakery opens and the baker notices he is early. Breakfasted, lunches packed and cameras at the ready, we're off by 8:30.

One wing of Villandry with keep on the side
There's no particular history for this château. It is Renaissance in style, considered "the last of the great châteaux of the Renaissance" to be built. It was never a royal palace, but rather built for the Finance Minister of François I, Jean le Breton. Does it strike you as strange that the finance minister is able to afford such lavish digs?  Hmmm

Janis and Clark on terrace. Keep of Villandry is on left end of castle
M. Breton razed the feudal castle that was on this spot, except for the keep which he kept because it was where Henry II Plantagenet signed the Peace of Colombiers admitting defeat to the King of France, Philippe August. In 1532, he built a classical Renaissance palace with a focus on symmetry.

The main château is U-shaped with an undecorated center courtyard
The château changed owners many times from 1754 until 1906 when Dr. Joachim Carvallo, a Spanish medical researcher and his American wife Anne Coleman purchased Villandry and restored both the château and the gardens. The property has remained in the family and is now owned by the great-grandson of the Carvallos.
This  model of the castle sits in the children's wing of the palace. It took 84000 matchsticks and 9000 hours to make. 

The interior of the château is fun to visit because while the château has been modernized (there are bathrooms), the rooms are furnished allowing us to see how it would be to live in the 19th and 20th centuries in a château. It's difficult to limit the photos to share because each room was unique and interesting. Enjoy the interior photos and then continue to the garden photos.
Sittng room

Drawing room and study

dining room

Kitchen - doesn't look too modern

Indoor plumbing and running water. Lynn reflected in photo of bathroom.

Old style bath tub in one of the bedrooms

Children's room

Ceiling in oriental parlor - in the art wing

While the château is beautiful to visit, the gardens are spectacular. Even in early spring when you wouldn't expect there to be much blooming, Of course, everything is new and small, so Janis and I are looking forward to visiting again when the gardens have more character....and leaves.
Looking toward the vegetable gardens.

The love gardens

close up of love garden

Gardens from the belvedere

Gardens from the belvedere. Keep on right. Love garden on bottom of photo; vegetable gardens in background.

Looking toward castle (keep on left end of château) from walk with love garden between

Tulips were abundant and colorful

Janis on the walkway

Close up of lettuces in vegetable garden.

flower border

vegetable gardens

Now on to Ussé - castle number two - next blog

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