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The most interesting castles of the Loire Valley, France

England, Scotland, Czech Republic, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France – in all these countries there are medieval fortresses. Perhaps the most impressive are still buildings in the valley of the French river Loire.
Villandry
The Last Renaissance Castle
The most interesting castles of the Loire Valley, France
Villandry fortress was built much later than its neighbors – in the XVI century. This area is famous for its Italian gardens, located on three levels. Upper – busy ponds. The middle one is the “Garden of Love” – it is divided into four large squares of a bush, depicting allegories of love: affected hearts (passion), yellow array (infidelity), hearts separated by flames (tenderness), swords and blood (tragic love).
Below is a decorative garden: you can find cabbage, carrots, beets, lettuce, as well as apples and pears. The landscape is completed by fountains, previously intended to irrigate the land.
Saumur
Prison of the Marquis de Sade
In the X century. on the site of this building, a monastery and a military fortress appeared, designed to protect the local population from the attack of the Normans. Later, the fort passed into the possession of the Count of Anjou and turned into a posh castle. Golden times for him were the XIV and XV centuries. Then a royal garrison was placed here, and then for two hundred years Saumur served as a prison for people from noble classes. For example, the Marquis de Sade once spent two weeks here.
Cheverny
Heirloom
This castle for several centuries belonged to one family, moving from one generation to another. This tradition was interrupted only once and not for long: when the king placed his favorite Diana de Poitiers here. That is why the building itself and the interiors of the halls are well preserved. In the rooms of the first floor you can find authentic paintings of the era of Louis XIII, you also need to go to the trophy basement room, filled with reindeer horns, and the castle kennel, in which hundreds of hunting dogs live. These places have long been famous for dog hunting.
Chambord
Castle Maze
One of the most recognizable buildings of France. They say that Leonardo da Vinci himself had a hand in his project – probably, that is why the castle’s architecture is so elegant and complex: 426 rooms, 77 stairs (sometimes in the most unexpected places) and 282 fireplaces. The castle was owned by King Francis I, who was very fond of visiting the countess Turi living next door.
Chaumont-sur-Loire
Catherine the Medici Castle
The spouse of the French king Ekaterina Medici, who bought it in the 16th century, made this place famous. Now it is a museum where you can see the room of the queen herself, the tower of her astrologer Ruggieri, the consultative hall, the guards’ hall, the dining room, the library, the billiard room, the chapel and the chambers of Diana de Poitiers, the favorite of the king who had to move here after his death. It will also be interesting to visit the castle stables – look into the saddle shop, the kitchen for the preparation of feed, the coach house and playpen for the pony.
Lange
The oldest preserved stone fortress of France
The history of this castle is connected with the names of such legendary personalities as Fulk the Black and Richard the Lionheart. Here you can look at one of the last functioning castle drawbridges, French tapestries of the XV-XVI centuries, Gothic chandeliers, ancient paintings, sculptures and, of course, the main pearl of this building is a wax re-creation of the marriage of Charles VIII and Anna of Brittany, which passed here and marked The beginning of the accession of Brittany to France.
Usse
Castle “Sleeping Beauty”
Legend has it that Charles Perrault was so fascinated by this building that he described it in his famous fairy tale. In the round tower now you can see a wax re-creation of episodes from there. In addition, the history of this castle is associated with the names of two more famous writers: Chateaubriand wrote his “Tombstones” here, and Prosper Merime made sure that in 1861 it was listed in the state list of historical monuments of France.
Losh
The most massive castle
The local donjon is considered the oldest surviving in the country. The construction of the fortress at this place began in the 9th century, and of course it was wooden. The tower that has reached our days was built at the very beginning of the 11th century, and the thickness of its walls is 3 meters. The castle is associated with many famous historical names. In the XII century. he was owned by the English king Richard the Lionheart, and later for a long time the Beautiful Lady lived there Agnes Sorel – the first favorite of King Charles VII. She was buried right there in the church at the castle.
Amboise
The last refuge of Leonardo da Vinci and the Huguenots
Here Francis I grew up and was very fond of this castle. In 1515, he settled Leonardo da Vinci on the estate of Clu, connected with Amboise by an underground passage. The artist painted his most famous work here – “Gioconda” and died in 1519. His remains are kept in the castle chapel of St. Hubert.

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