Azay-le-Rideau Travel Guide

  • Walking through  Azay-Le-Rideau
    Walking through Azay-Le-Rideau
    by Herkbert
  • Chateau Azay-Le-Rideau
    Chateau Azay-Le-Rideau
    by Herkbert
  • Walking through  Azay-Le-Rideau
    Walking through Azay-Le-Rideau
    by Herkbert

Azay-le-Rideau Highlights

  • Pro
    Goner profile photo

    Goner says…

     A Fairy-Tale Castle in a Fairy-Tale Setting 

  • Con
    von.otter profile photo

    von.otter says…

     Better self-guide materials for the château. 

  • In a nutshell
    von.otter profile photo

    von.otter says…

     Azay-le-Rideau: a Town and a Castle Worth a Visit. 

Azay-le-Rideau Things to Do

  • Visit Chateau Azay-Le-Rideau

    Beautiful inside and outside, the Chateau Azay-Le-Rideau is definitely worth visiting. It has a fairy tale feeling as you approach. You are waiting for people right out of the 16th century to walk out and greet you.The tour through the chateau is an interesting look at life in a chateau. This is a chateau that was lived in and they go all out to...

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  • Walk Through the Interior

    The interiors have 16 & 17C furnishings, beds and tapestries. The main fireplaces bear gilded Salamanders (for Francois I).The ballroom mantel was probably carved by Goujon. Not that Francois ever stayed here, but it was to show those who came to visit that the owner was close to the King. The kitchen is vaulted with ribbing which terminates on...

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  • Walk Around the Chateau

    The Chateau of Azay-le-Rideau is on the Indre River (a tributary of the the Loire). Its construction started in 1518 (architect E. Rousseau), adopting the new Renaissance innovations seen at Blois and Amboise along with the "in the river" style of Chenonceau. The rich Giles Berthelot and his richer wife Philippa directed the massive endevor (over...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau: Its Exterior

    “Because of the beauty of the building itself, the view of Azay-le-Rideau from the side of the Indre opposite the gate of entrance seems to me one of the most beautiful views of a perfect building, perfectly situated, that can be seen in all the world.”— from “Churches and Castles of Mediæval France” 1895 by Walter Cranston Larned (1850-1914)In...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau: Glimpsed From...

    “Azay is a most perfect and beautiful thing; I should place it third in any list of the great houses of this part of France in which these houses should be ranked according to charm.”— from “A Little Tour In France” 1881 by Henry James (1843-1916)Gilles Berthelot was a rich financier who served under Louis XII in the late 15th and early 16th...

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  • Azay-le-Rideau: Egilse Paroissial Saint...

    “We were tempted to linger so long in the grounds that we had only a short time to spend in the interesting eleventh century church which adjoins the park and, like the château, belongs to the State. The façade of the church is richly decorated with quaint statuettes and carvings, and here also is a seigniorial chapel with inscriptions of the...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, Its Staircase...

    “Azay-le-Rideau, and elsewhere dotted throughout the district of Touraine, the delightful chateaux of the nobility bear witness to the memorable times when Francis held his court on the banks of the Loire.”— from “The Story of the Art of Building” 1901 By Percy Leslie WaterhouseAs you climb the castle’s staircase, look up and you will see several...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, Its Interiors,...

    Le Salon Biencourt, Photos #1 to #3The windows, decorated with 16th and 17th century stained glass, open onto the river and the park, created by the Marquis de Biencourt. The large paintings and royal portraits date from the Valois dynasty, when much of the castle’s construction was completed. La Salle de Billard, Photos #4 & #5The Billiard Room is...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, Its Interiors,...

    La Grande Salle, Photo #1Here in the Great Hall balls and feasts were held. Over the monumental fireplace is the symbol of François I, the salamander; also the molding of curling foliage gives a hint at what the decoration of this room was like before much of it was removed. Also some beautiful tapestries of the 16th and 17th centuries are...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, Its Interiors,...

    L’Antichambre This antechamber serves the flat that was reserved for the King. In this room there are several portraits of the kings of France who have visited the castle; François I, Henri III, Louis XIII (photo #3), and his son Louis XIV (photos #1 & #2), over the fireplace. Its red curtains and furniture also recall why this is such a grand...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau: Its Chapel

    “The last priest in our country who theologically kept a woman in his parsonage, regaling her with his scholastic love, was a certain vicar of Azay-le-Ridel, a place later on most aptly named as Azay-le-Brulé, and now Azay-le-Rideau, whose castle is one of the marvels of Touraine.”— from the short story, “The Vicar of Azay-le-Rideau,” 1832 by...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, Its Staircase...

    “Francis I and Louis XIV often came to Azay-le-Rideau, and it is easy to imagine they must have brought charming company with them.”— from “Churches and Castles of Mediæval France” 1895 by Walter Cranston Larned (1850-1914)Mr. Larned was mistaken; François I visited the castle only once. Because the château is so beautiful it is easy to imagine the...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, Salamanders &...

    “A court without women, it is like a garden without flowers.”— François I (1494-1547)Although François I confiscated Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, it was never an official royal residence. The king visited once. The explanation for the many salamanders, the emblem of François that decorate the castle, could be flattery. By picturing the diminutive...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, Salamanders &...

    “Nutrisco et extinguo” (“I am nourished by good and I extinguish evil.”)— the motto of François INO MODEST FELLOW Kings do not have to be modest, and Francis the First was not; he adopted the salamander as his personal emblem. The word salamander is Persian in origin: sam, meaning fire, and andarun, meaning within. Many salamanders live inside...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau: Its Coat of...

    “Azay-le-Rideau is the most brilliant expression of the French Renaissance, the most striking examples of the application of our ancient national art.”— Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879)Along Victor Hugo, Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc helped to raise awareness among their fellow French citizens about the sorry state of repair of the...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, Its Rib...

    “Arrived at Azay we separated, my wife preferring to sketch a piece of the chateau, from a point just to the right of the little bridge which spans the moat, while I walked through the rooms. She chose the better part, for although there are a great many historical pictures of importance, the exterior is distinctly better than the interior, good as...

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  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau: Its Turrets

    “There is but one Azay-le-Rideau. No wonder this was a home for pleasure, and when the kings and the nobles came here, as they often did, it was for rest and relaxation. Their sterner work was not done here.”— from “Churches and Castles of Mediæval France” 1895 by Walter Cranston Larned (1850-1914)This château always was intended as a pleasure...

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  • Take a walk down the stairs

    I'm a sucker for spiral staircases....they are just so cool.Then there is the massive open-to-the-wind main staircase.

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  • Can I live here?

    I'll take this bedroom,we could play billiards by the fire,entertain Kings,collect famous art,fish in the moat,You name it, gracious living at its best.

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  • Pretend to be a knight

    The outfit was a little small for my son, but he tried it anyway. The other little boy was darling in his. We tried and failed to get the full picture. But he was wandering around with his shield and sword fighting pretend dragons.

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  • Don't forget the kitchen

    The kitchen was one of the highlights of the tour. It was huge and had all sorts of nooks and crannys and a dedicated entrance from the river for supplies. We loved the boarhead the most.

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  • Ascend the Central Staircase

    As at Blois, the central staircase is th focal point of the chateau.The Italianate structure of the staicase is striking. The stairs are straight, not spiral, with platforms at each length, like at Chenonceau. In 1520 this was very new! The ceilings of the stairs are decorated with carved panels and pendants. There is still an open view.

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  • Azay-le-Rideau - Central Staircase

    The central staircase was Azay-le-Rideau's most significant design feature. It is consisted of three straight flights with landings, instead of the spiral staircase that was usual for the period. The striking interior stairecase is behind an intricatedly decorated pediment with three stories of twin bays. Many facial scuptures are carved on the...

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  • Azay-le-Rideau - Turrets

    The decorated turrets adorn the chateau's facade rather than protect it, unlike those sturdy towers of medieval fortresses did in the past else where.

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  • Francois I`s Emblem – Salamender

    Francois I and Claude de France's emblems were engraved in stone above many doors, for flattering the former. However, the flattery did not save Berthelot's fate: Bethelot was forced to flee Azay-le-Rideau before the construction finished and the chateau was confiscated by Francois I in 1527.

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  • Azay-le-Rideau - Entrance Facade

    It is dominated by the galleried stairewell toped by a tall gable. The decoration was influenced by Italian Renaissance artists.

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  • Azay-le-Rideau

    The Azay-le-Rideau was described by Balzac as a 'faceted diamond set in the Indre'. It is considered one of the best designed Renaissance cheateaux. Gilles Berthelot was mayor of Tours and the treasurer to Francois I. He acquired Azay-le-Rideau when his wife inherited the ruins of a medieval castle. He and his wife started to build this pleasure...

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Azay-le-Rideau Hotels

Azay-le-Rideau Restaurants

  • Family friendly restaurant with veggie...

    This is a nice quiet home-style restaurant with incredibly friendly service. There is an upstairs room in addition to the ground floor. The food is very good and not too expensive. Vegetarian choices are available if that's what you want.They recommend a reservation on Saturday nights and since Azay is a very small town, that is probably a good...

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  • Eat Here and Enjoy

    “At Azay-le-Rideau, and elsewhere dotted throughout the district of Touraine, the delightful chateaux of the nobility bear witness to the memorable times when Francis held his court on the banks of the Loire.”— from “The Story of the Art of Building” 1901 By Percy Leslie WaterhouseThis sweet little restaurant is très chic. The food is very good;...

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  • RELAIS DE LA SALAMANDRE

    In the centre of Azay-le-Rideau, there's a big square for parking your car. Around this square you can find a couple of pubs and restaurants. We had lunch in Relais de la Salamandre. You can sit outside in the big garden or inside in a nice interior. On the menu, you'll find salades, pizzas, crêpes ...

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Azay-le-Rideau Off The Beaten Path

  • hquittner's Profile Photo
    St. Symphorien Church (rt. half very old)

    by hquittner Written Jul 21, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    St. Symphorien Church is on the road to the right of the Chateau entrance. The West front has a portion of wall from the 9C, (the right half) The pointed arch window was cut in much later. There are arches inside which are identified as early 11C carving and show surpising technic

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    • Seniors
    • Family Travel

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Azay-le-Rideau Favorites

  • Goner's Profile Photo
    Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau

    by Goner Updated Jul 8, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: d'Azay-le-Rideau has all the best aspects of Loire castles; beautiful architecture, resplendent interior and lovely gardens. There is a terrace and promenade around the foot of the castle with an old chapel and outbuildings to explore. in 1810 Marquis de Biencourt had the low lying pasture land drained and set up as an English style park with large shade trees from around the world that helps make it so inviting. There is much to see and enjoy at this fairyland castle.

    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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