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Chateaux of the Loire Valley: Langeais, Azay-le-Ri

Chateaux of the Loire Valley: Langeais, Azay-le-Ri

By car, 28 km, 1 day

Nestling between the forest and the Loire, but on different banks, Langeais and Ussé express the quintessence, perhaps, of what makes up the gentle charm of the Loire Valley. Azay-le-Rideau, lying halfway between these two fairy-tale chateaux, has been described as "a cut diamond set in the River Indre."

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Langeais

Langeais
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Château de Langeais   Worth a detour Worth a detour

37130 Langeais
Architecture, castles and historic districts

The feudal stronghold of Langeais, with its high walls, round towers, crenellated sentryway and drawbridge, has survived intact through the centuries. Built between 1465 and 1470 by Jean Bourré, Louis XI's treasurer (1423-1483), the castle houses untold treasures, antique furniture and fine tapestries; note in particular the tapestries portraying the Nine Worthies and some mille-fleurs. Above all, savour the authentic atmosphere of the 15C and the Renaissance.

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Château d'Azay le Rideau   Worth a journey Worth a journey Worth a journey

R. du Château 37190 Azay-le-Rideau
Architecture, castles and historic districts

Dominated by turrets redolent of the Middle Ages, this marvellously graceful white château was built by Gilles Berthelot between 1518 and 1527. Part of it looms over the River Indre; this architectural gem has one of the earliest sloped staircases in the italianate style, a rich decorative scheme and furniture of the highest quality, plus magnificent 16C-17C tapestries. Surrounding the building is 8ha of English-style parkland laid out from 1810 onwards.

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Château of Ussé   Worth a detour Worth a detour

D 7 37420 Rigny-Ussé
Architecture, castles and historic districts

Situated on the edge of the forest of Chinon, overlooking the Indre, the château of Ussé inspired Charles Perrault's tale of Sleeping Beauty. It was built on the foundations of an 11C fortress in the 15 and 16C. The interior contains Flemish tapestries and oriental weapons. Note the fine ceiling in the Guardroom. The King's Chamber and the chapel situated in the park are worth a visit.

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