Northern France’s beautiful UNESCO-listed valley, home to heart-stoppingly beautiful historic chateaux, authentic village life, world-class wines and fascinating troglodytes.
Travel bucket list idea:
Cheverny, Centre-Val de Loire, France|www.chateau-cheverny.fr|
Built in 1624-30, this chateau is still lived in by descendants of the original owners and builders, the Hurault family. Unlike the Renaissance style of many Loire chateaux, here you are firmly in the comforts of Louis XIII classicism, amid lavish panelling and fine tapestries.
The chateau is regarded as being one of the most richly decorated and furnished; the interiors have remained largely untouched, with an impressive assortment of furniture, tapestries, weapons and other artefacts that reveal six centuries of family history.
The chateau still maintains a kennel of more than 100 hounds, in keeping with a strong hunting tradition. You can visit them all day, but the main spectacle is feeding time at 5pm, or 3pm in winter months.
Pair a visit here with some excellent wine tasting at the Maison des Vins near the entrance. Visit in spring to see a rainbow of over 250,000 tulips. Seven gardeners work all year round on this natural display.
Getting there & doing it
The nearest train station is Blois, about 1 hour 40 minutes from Paris. There is free on-site parking if you’re driving. Unfortunately, guided tours are only available for groups of 20 or more.
There are guided tours of the grounds on electric cars and boats. Café de l’Orangerie is a nice on-site café with outdoor seating, selling snacks and home-made ice cream.
When to do it
The chateau is open all year round, seven days a week. Feeding of the hunting hounds is daily at 3pm or 5pm. The tulip display appears in late March and April.
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