The picturesque towns and villages, the River Loire itself, the UNESCO World Heritage status of the surroundings... these alone are sufficient reason to make a visit to the Loire Valley. But in spring and summer the castles come alive with events and festivities that offer a treat for the senses. Which one will you choose?
Where better than France to enjoy a true son et lumiere display? And what better backdrop than the magnificent architecture of the central courtyard of the royal castle at Blois? Original music accompanies the dramatic light show and the narration of the tales of love, drama and mystery that comprise the history of the castle, parts of which date from the thirteenth century.
Garden Encounters, Chateau de Villandry
Finished in 1536, Villandry was the last of the Renaissance chateaux of the Loire Valley and has been fully restored and furnished. Each year, in early June (4-5th June 2011) there is an annual event celebrating the Castle's splendid grounds and gardens. With over 1,000 lime trees, 120 topiary yews, and six different formal gardens on terraces, the gardens at Villandry are a major element of the site. There has been a move in recent years to make the gardens organic and they are kept open all year round.
International Garden Festival, Chaumont sur Loire
Until October 16th, Chaumonet sur Loire is celebrating one of the best known garden events in the world, the International Garden Festival. Attracting professionals and the general public alike, this year sees the 20th edition of the Festival, under the theme Gardens of the Future or the art of happy biodiversity. In addition, modern art, exhibitions, music and installations all feature in the chateau's programme of events.
Discover Chenonceau at night
The chateau and gardens at Chenonceau celebrate the arrival or June with special nocturnal visits each weekend. Throughout the month, each Friday Saturday and Sunday, visitors have the chance to walk through a dreams landscape of illuminated formal gardens.
The Loire Chateaux web provides all the information necessary to organise an itinerary that includes the 19 most important castles in the Loire Valley. There are also recommendations for travelling with the family or the elderly, as well as a suggested route for exploring the Loire by bike.