The gardens of the Château de Villandry are the big draw for a visit. So much so that you have the choice of paying one admission fee for the Château and Gardens, and a somewhat reduced price for just the Gardens.
Plan on a couple of hours for a slow wander through these beautiful grounds, following a route outlined in the brochure. Your walk takes you to six individual gardens, each with its own personality and color scheme.
The Ornamental Garden
The Ornamental Garden extends from the side of the château and is best seen from the belvedere. You can see the four squares of the love gardens, with flowers symbolizing tender love, passionate love, fickle love, and tragic love. The lower garden is shaped to represent symbols of music. Here's Tender Love:
The woods rise on the hillside above the belvedere. Walking here affords excellent views, as well as peace and quiet.
The Water Garden
This tranquil garden is focused on a large pond shaped like a Louis XV mirror. Surrounded by lime trees and with benches dotted around it, it is a perfect place for quiet contemplation.
The Sun Garden
The Sun Garden has three parts. The first part, with blue and white flowers and perennials, is light and airy. The sun room, with yellow and orange flowers, is bright and cheery. And at the end is the children's playground. Nearby is the Maze, a charming place with no dead ends, so everyone can reach the center.
The Herb Garden
Featuring both medicinal herbs and herbs for cooking, the herb garden offers some familiar plants and some quite exotic. Nearby, large fields of lavender blow softly in the breeze and provide a purple hue to the landscape.
The Vegetable Garden
This garden consists of nine equally sized squares, and each square has a different design. Planted with colorful vegetables that are carefully arranged in artful patterns, the Vegetable Garden is a delight. Two annual plantings provide beautiful and practical crops for much of the year. The vegetable gardens have been organic since 2009.
The Château de Villandry was completed in 1536, the last of the great Loire Renaissance châteaux. Interior rooms were redecorated in 18th century style. Sumptuous furnishings and the beautiful Moorish ceiling, as well as works of art and fresh flowers, make for a beautiful tour.
The château hosts various expositions during the summer season, including the Night of a Thousand Fireworks in early July, where the grounds are lit with candles.
Over the years, various owners have left their mark, most notably in the 19th century when the gardens were taken out to create an English style park.
Since 1906, Villandry has been owned by the Carvallo family, who undertook significant renovations. As part of their work, they recreated the Renaissance-style gardens we enjoy today.
Villandry is just 18 kilometers southwest of Tours. Its location invites visits to the nearby châteaux of Azay-le-Rideau, Ussé, Langeais, and Chinon.
Château de Villandry
37510 Villandry, France
Tel: +33 (0)2 47 50 02 09
Fax: +33 (0)2 47 50 12 85