Hot air balloon flight. 3-hour activity. Starts early in the morning or late afternoon. Departure near the most beautiful châteaux of Indre et Loire. One hour flight to discover Touraine. After landing, a toast to the aeronauts, reception of diplomas and return to the meeting point.
From its position on top of its promontory, the Royal Château of Amboise enjoys a panoramic view over the Loire, whose waters it has been watching over since the dawn of time. The château became a royal residence in the early Renaissance period, and was the first château in the Loire Valley to see the introduction of the Italian style thanks to Charles VIII. His work was later pursued by Francis I alongside the Tuscan genius Leonardo da Vinci, who was buried in the château’s chapel. The Château of Amboise is a flagship site in French history and one of the finest of the Loire Châteaux.
The castle in Chaumont-sur-Loire stands on a raised hill just behind the village, from where it towers over the houses along the riverside. As with many castles in the Loire Valley, the chateau was built in the 15th-16th centuries on the site of a much older castle. (27km)
Azay-le-Rideau, town and château, Indre-et-Loire département, Centre région, central France. The town lies along the Indre River a few miles upstream from its confluence with the Loire River, about 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Tours.
These 22 castles, scattered along the Loire and its tributaries, tell a significant chunk of the history of France. Many were built during the Renaissance, in the 15th and 16th century, when the court of the kings of France settled in the Loire Valley, a territory now inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whether they have been inhabited by sovereigns or nobles, these castles are majestic and awe-inspiring, hiding treasures and hoarding a sense of history.
Clos Lucé, a 15th-century chateau built on 12th-century foundations, now houses a museum dedicated mostly to the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci. Most of the artworks are copies while the furniture date from the period but are not originally from the specific palace.
Visitors enter the small chateau via a Renaissance gallery that gives lovely views of the garden and the pink brick and white tufa stone chateau. Note the Gothic elements on the façade including a statue of St Sebastian – the patron saint of archers – above the coat of arms of France.
Along with the garden with its seven heavenly pathways inviting visitors for a walk, the château itself is well worth a detour. Following large-scale renovation work, a range of details perfectly capture the Renaissance spirit: a cornice with quadruple friezes on the façade, ornamental windows decorated with 8,000 pieces of stained glass and magnificent fireplaces…
At Chenonceau the harmony between nature and architecture is there for all to see. Particularly exceptional are the château’s gardens, all of which are remarkable: French-style gardens by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici, a maze and vegetable garden. The château is open to visitors every day of the year and its gardens are a daily occupation as they are permanently cultivated. The plantations, renewed in spring and summer, involve the planting of 130 000 bedding plants, grown on site by the team of gardeners. (12 km)
Enjoy architecture spanning the centuries within a 2 hectare wooded park and discover the joys of France's heritage: 41 of the most beautiful Castles of the Loire identically reproduced to a 1:25 scale.
The Chateau de Villandry was built in the early 1500s. It was one of the last of the Loire chateaux of the Renaissance period. In 1906 the gardens which had been destroyed in the 19th century were recreated in keeping with the style of the chateau. The gardens cover 9 hectares and include six distinct gardens: a water garden, with ponds and fountains; an ornamental garden with intricate patterns of clipped box filled with different flowers according to the seasons; and an enormous vegetable garden.
Referred to as the "Sleeping Beauty" castle, between the Chinon forest and Indre valley, the Ussé castle is said to have inspired Charles Perrault's famous tale. Built in the 15th century, this impressive building with numerous towers and pinnacles was built over several periods and features sumptuous furniture and Flemish tapestries. Located in the heart of the gardens designed by Le Nôtre, the chapel is considered to be an excellent example of the Gothic-Renaissance transition.
The royal Château de Blois gives a wonderful overview of the history of the Loire valley, with four facades built in the styles of four different periods. It is the only château to be proud to have hosted no fewer than ten queens and seven kings of France.
The Château de Langeais was rebuilt in the 15th century by King Louis XI. It is one of the oldest Loire châteaux. Its architecture shows a transition between two styles. From the town, you can see the drawbridge, towers and machicolations of a medieval castle with the defensive requirements of the time. From the park, the château is in Renaissance style, with openings onto the outside and symmetrical lines. Each room in the Château de Langeais contains sculpted furnishings, rich wall coverings and tapestries, as well as pieces of art recalling the lives of feudal lords. They are particularly in evidence in the bedrooms and wedding hall. In the hall the secret wedding between Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany is recreated. This crucial event brought about the unification of the Duchy of Brittany with the kingdom of France.