The magnificent chateaux dotted around France are a major attraction in summer, but many do stay open in winter as well. The winter months see fewer crowds, giving you room to explore the chateaux at a leisurely pace. The gardens may be less colourful than in the summer months, but you can enjoy the colour they do have and wander through the bare trees and easily picture their magnificence in full-force.
We have put together the best chateaux worth visiting in the winter months, including the biggest and grandest if you are staying in our luxury holiday villas in the Loire Valley
in the coming weeks and months.
The Chateau dAngers in the city of Angers was founded in the 9th century by the Counts of Anjou, and the castle was expanded to its current size in the 13th century. Located on a rocky ridge overhanging the River Maine, the chateau is home to the Apocalypse Tapestry, a medieval French tapestry that depicts the story of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation.
Chateau dAngers is open daily from 10am to 5.30pm, excluding January 1st and December 25th to April 30th.
Chateau de Brézé
Chateau de Brézé is a small chateau located near Saumur. It was transformed several times between the 16th and 19th century, and the current structure is Renaissance in style with several medieval elements, such as a drawbridge. It is one of the most intriguing castles in the Loire Valley, with an underground fortress and surrounded by a large vineyard.
The chateau is open 10am to 6pm each day in winter but closed for January and December 25th.
Chambord was the first of the great classical palaces built in France, standing in a vast park behind a 20-mile wall in the forest of Sologne, which provided hunting for the kings and queens of France and their courtiers. The chateau is a beautiful example of Renaissance style, some of it allegedly designed by Leonardo da Vinci. However, Francois I who planned the building of Chambord never had a chance to live it the richly furnished staterooms, living closer to France after a defeat in battle in 1525. You are sure to enjoy walking the grounds without having to dodge around children and tourists cameras!
The chateau is open all year, except for January 1st and December 25th, and open 9am to 5pm, with the last entry a half hour before closing.
Chateau de Blois
Blois is one of the grandest of the Loire Valley chateaux, standing high above the town of the same of the name. Originally just a medieval castle that defended the area, Francois I decided to move there in 1503 from Amboise, and so Blois was expanded. Due to many developments and refurbishments on Blois, as seven kings and queens have lived there, there are many examples of art and architecture from Italian decoration to Gothic pillars. In the festive period, many of the large chateaux dress up to celebrate Christmas, giving an added air of grandeur to the castle.
The chateau is open all year, from 10am to 5pm November to March, not including Christmas and New Years Day.
In the west side of the Loire, between Tours and Blois, you can visit the breathtaking Chateau dAmboise. It was the court for many French kings, and the place for visiting European artists and dignitaries to stay, including Leonardo da Vinci, whose tomb is in the chateaus chapel. Small groups can enjoy visits to the underground passageways and towers of the medieval fortress and wonder at the intricate Renaissance architect. It is the place to go if you are seeking shelter from the chilly winter weather.
The chateau is open all year, in the morning and afternoon, but closed on January 1st and December 25th.
Set on an island in the River Indre, the charming Chateau dAzay-le-Rideau has delicate towers and pointed turrets, looking like a fairytale castle. Inside there is the Royal Chamber and ornate staircases, and outdoors the parkland has an English style with secret paths, water mirrors and trees. The grounds are ideal for wintry walks, and with the trees losing their leaves, you enjoy undisturbed views of the chateau.
Chateau dAzay-le-Rideau is open all year, from 10am to 5.15pm in the winter months to March 31st, not including January 1st and December 25th.
Book your winter holidays in the Loire Valley today! Get in touch with Quality Villas to see what we can do for you!
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