Azay-le-Rideau Things to Do

  • Château Azay-le-Rideau
    Château Azay-le-Rideau
    by Beausoleil
  • Château Azay-le-Rideau
    Château Azay-le-Rideau
    by Beausoleil
  • Window in St. Symphorien
    Window in St. Symphorien
    by Beausoleil

Most Recent Things to Do in Azay-le-Rideau

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    The Attic

    by black_mimi99 Written Aug 28, 2015

    They allow visitors in the attic where the charpente, or the hand-crafted wooden frame supporting the roof, has been recently restored (2010-2011) and can be viewed alongside an exhibition explaining the complex techniques of its construction

    Charpente, or the Hand-Crafted Wooden Rafters
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    Royal Bedroom

    by black_mimi99 Written Aug 28, 2015

    The Royal Bedroom was for those rare occasions when the King was in the neighborhood. It was occupied by Louis XIII when in 1619 he visited Francesca Souvré lady of Saint-Gelais of Lansac, future governess to the children of France. The bed, from the late seventeenth century, is a suspended canopy. There are also several amazing 17th century cabinets in the room.

    Royal Bedroom Portuguese Cabinet
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    The Great Hall

    by black_mimi99 Written Aug 28, 2015

    As you come out of the stairs on the second floor you enter the Great Hall, where balls and feasts were once given. The salamander of François I is painted on the monumental fireplace and frieze of foliage under the moldings let imagine what would have been the decoration of the room once completed. The great room has among the most beautiful tapestries in the château, dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In the 16th century this room, in the corner of the castle, was used for parties and receptions.

    Great Hall
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    The kitchen

    by black_mimi99 Written Aug 28, 2015

    The kitchen has had the floor raised and served as a dining room in the 19th century. The large fireplace, well and stone sink had been covered with plaster and were uncovered during restoration by the state. Other than the raised floor, this was the appearance of the kitchen in the 16th century.

    The Kitchen The large fireplace
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    The Biencourt Lounge

    by black_mimi99 Updated Aug 28, 2015

    The Biencourt Dining Room was located on the first floor. They had this very cool little case with flasks and glasses in a locking case meant to be packed up for travel.
    In the Biencourt Lounge it has a number of paintings which are not particularly memorable but interesting for various reasons. Following the Prussian troops' retreat, during the Franco-Polish war (1870-1871), Azay-le-Rideau returned to the Biencourts. In this period, the château became well known for the collection of more than 300 historical portraits which the owners displayed there and which, unusually for a private collection, could be visited by the public. Many of the paintings could be in this room, the state received the château without furnishings but has gradually tried to re- imagine the interiors.

    Diane de Poitiers by Fran��ois Clouet 1571 Feast Of Belshazzar 17th Century Henri III Entry into Venice, Palma the Young 1604
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    The Billiards Room

    by black_mimi99 Written Aug 28, 2015

    The Billiards Room Is decorated with Flemish tapestries from the mid-sixteenth century, the large and lush borders “crimp” short biblical scenes. All of the entrance rooms on the first floor were created by the Biencourts in the 19th century.

    Billiards Room
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    Inside the Chateau

    by black_mimi99 Written Aug 28, 2015

    Just inside the doors is an entrance vestibule and stairwell with pendant keystones and initial “B” for Berthelot. The Grand Staircase features ornate decoration, inspired by Italian architecture, such as pillars, pilasters, carved shells and medallions of the Kings and Queens of France. The architect of the straight Grand Staircase, a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, is unknown. The staircase has three floors, each with a double bay window forming a mezzanine which looks out over the courtyard. The handrails are made of stone inset into the stone wall.

    Grand Staircase Inset Stone Rails, Grand Staircase. Ceiling of First Floor Mezzanine
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    Entryway Doors of Château D'Azay Le Rideau

    by black_mimi99 Written Aug 28, 2015

    The entryway, which resembles a Roman triumphal arch, is decorated with the initials of Gilles Berthelot and his wife, Philippa Lesbahy, while the pediments overhanging each window bay are carved with the salamander and ermine of Francis I and his wife, Claude of France, in honor to the monarch of the time. I am not sure how the initials MB refer to Philippa Lesbahy unless they refer to Madame Berthelot. It is also possible that they refer to the Marquis de Biencourt.

    Entryway Doors
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    Always visit the church

    by Beausoleil Written Aug 24, 2015

    Saint Symphorien is an ancient church near the chateau, an easy walk. The facade looks very old because much of it is. Some dates back to the ninth century and is in Carolingian style, not much mentioned in the guides. Most of the church is in the more familiar Romanesque style and the last addition was in 1603. However, there are some very modern and truly beautiful stained glass windows that are well worth a visit.

    On the very useful side, there is a small parking lot in front of the church that can be useful especially on market days when the main town lot is full of the market. You can easily visit the church, walk over to the chateau, find a nice restaurant and walk along the Indre River. For those of you who camp, there is a campground just across the river from here.

    The church doesn't have a web site and diocese information is minimal so I'll suggest the web site below for a little more information.

    Address: 23 rue Gambetta

    Directions: The church is just off Place Gambetta and well signposted

    Phone: +33 (0)2 4745-4201

    Website: http://www.spottinghistory.com/view/1076/saint-symphoriens-church/

    St. Symphorien St. Symphorien St. Symphorien Window in St. Symphorien Window in St. Symphorien
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    You go to Azay-le-Rideau for the Château

    by Beausoleil Written Aug 24, 2015

    Azay-le-Rideau is one of my favorite châteaux. We visited Azay and Villandry on our first trip to France and fell in love with both. They are completely different and equally wonderful. Azay is almost like a little wedding cake sitting on a mirror with the lake in front of it. If you come at night during the season, they have an illumination show that is great fun. We first attended that on our third trip to the château. We'd brought our daughter with us and were staying a block from the château so when we saw the son et lumiere advertised, we knew we had to go. They project images on the facade of the building and play music as you walk through the lighted gardens. On a warm summer night it is pure magic.

    One of the things I like about Azay is the people there. There are always volunteers working at something and all of them love to tell you about the place and what they do. There are fresh flowers arranged by volunteers and the furnishings are lovely. On occasion there is an outdoor art exhibit on the grounds. It's a little different every time you visit so it's fun to revisit often.

    Address: 19, rue Balzac, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau

    Directions: Azay is a small town, you can't miss the chateau and it is well signposted
    GPS Coordinates are: Latitude : 47.2596
    Longitude : 0.4666

    Phone: +33 (0)2 4745-4204

    Website: http://loire-chateaux.co.uk/en-gb/chateaux/azay-le-rideau/access-practical-information

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    Visit Chateau Azay-Le-Rideau

    by Herkbert Written Aug 13, 2011

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    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 present it that way. You can stop and just look from the outside, but it is worthwhile to tour throughout. make sure to walk all around the outside of the chateau to see it from every angle.

    Open daily 9:30 - 6:30, Entry fee was Euro 8 for adults.

    Address: rue Pineau 37190 Azay-le-Rideau

    Phone: +33 (0)2 47 45 42 04

    Website: http://azay-le-rideau.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

    Chateau Azay-Le-Rideau Inside Azay-Le-Rideau Walking through  Azay-Le-Rideau Walking through  Azay-Le-Rideau Walking through  Azay-Le-Rideau
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    Walk Through the Interior

    by hquittner Updated Feb 21, 2009

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    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 fancifully sculpted corbels. The floor has been raised to minimize flood damage. One of the corbels shows a dog gnawing a bone.

    The Ballroom The Francois Bedroom Dog ad Bone Corbel
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    Walk Around the Chateau

    by hquittner Updated Feb 21, 2009

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    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 120 workers), she riding herd and proposing styles, until political scandals forced them away. It is L-shaped with cone-topped and pointed turrets at each corner, with a steep slate roof and set on an islet out into the water. The interiors are gracefully executed as well. The Sound and Light Show features people dressed in period finery and using boats on the water as well as showing off the architecture.

    Two Wings Looking South Entrance Stair Tower View of Chateau Back View with Sound & Light Boats
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    Château d’Azay-le-Rideau: Its Exterior

    by von.otter Updated Feb 7, 2009

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    “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 1791 Marquis Charles de Biencourt, an expert on modern agricultural techniques, bought castle. He began the process of modernizing the château’s farm. In 1825 his son, Armand Francois, took up the task of restoring the castle. The ministry of historic buildings contributes funds in 1840 to carry out more renovations. When the Second Empire fell in 1870 it took down many in the French aristocracy, the Marquis de Biencourt among them. Although the family managed to hold on to the château through the end of the 19th century, by 1905 it had to sell; the French government was there to buy, and by 1907 more renovation work began.

    The view of the château’s unique central monumental staircase (photo #1) is a classic scene.

    Take a moment to take your picture with the château and its reflection (photo #2).

    There is an elaborate door surround in the castle’s Cour d’Honneur (photo #4).

    Address: rue de Pineau, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau

    Phone: 33 / (0)2 47 45 42 04

    Website: http://azay-le-rideau.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

    Ch��teau d���Azay-le-Rideau, Exterior, 07/08 Ch��teau d���Azay-le-Rideau, Exterior, 07/08 Ch��teau d���Azay-le-Rideau, Exterior, 07/08 Ch��teau d���Azay-le-Rideau, Exterior, 07/08
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    Château d’Azay-le-Rideau: Glimpsed From Its Park

    by von.otter Updated Feb 7, 2009

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    “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 centuries; to reflect his wealth and position, he wished to establish his own fiefdom. He chose the town of Azay-le-Rideau and he set about building a château showplace inspired by the Italian High Renaissance.

    The ground where Berthelot wished to build had made unsuitable for building by the River Indre. After the land had dried out, Bethelot kept part of the foundations of the Mediaeval fortress that had once stood here. There is written documentation that construction began in 1518, but some think that it is more likely work began in 1514.

    By 1519, the year François I succeed his cousin Louis XII, work on Berthelot’s new château was progressing apace, supervised by Philippa, Gilles Bertholot’s wife. The new king had made it his mission to root out corruption amongst the grande bourgeoisie who rendered service to the crown. By 1527 Berthelot knew his time was up; he fled to Metz, leaving the château unfinished.

    Address: rue de Pineau, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau

    Directions: From Tours follow exit #11 and the secondary road D751 towards Chinon.

    Phone: 33 / (0)2 47 45 42 04

    Website: http://azay-le-rideau.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/

    Ch��teau d���Azay-le-Rideau, July 20008 Ch��teau d���Azay-le-Rideau, July 20008 Ch��teau d���Azay-le-Rideau, July 20008 Ch��teau d���Azay-le-Rideau, July 20008 Ch��teau d���Azay-le-Rideau, July 20008
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