A 16th-century chateau, Valencay castle is a symbol of the imperial power and an example of good taste and elegance. A visit that you should not miss if you are travelling in France.
Chateau de Valençay
The town of Valençay has a lot to offer to the tourist. A detour into Valençay is certainly worth your time. It is not a surprise that Valençay is known as one of the "Most beautiful detours in France".
Located in the Indre department, here you can spend the day at one of the most entertaining family friendly castles I have been to. This beautiful castle garantees a journey back in time. Whether it is visiting the beautiful rooms; seeing the collections of furniture, scuptures, precious objects and paintings or watching the life shows in the gardens or kitchens.
Afterwards you can go to the Car museum or just spend the rest of your day wandering around the picturesque town or even better visiting its vineyards and cheese making facilities.
Chateau de Valençay
French Castles: Valençay
The Chateau de Valençay is of Renaissance architecture, similar in style to the Chateau de Chambord in the Loire Valley.
The castle itself is very beautiful. Built around 1540 on a plateau overlooking the Nahon river. The castle was built on the site of a former fortified castle already destroyed. The large guard room, located underneath the Grand Courtyard with its lovely barrel vaults, is the only part that remains. The construction of the current castle started with the Estampes family, but it was not completed until the 18th century.
Worthy of notice is the round tower at the western corner, capped by bell-shaped dome. There are several styles in the building, mainly Doric on the ground floor and Corinthian on the second floor. An arcaded gallery rings the courtyard.
There are a hundred rooms, of which a quarter comprise Talleyrand's apartments. The western wing contains the Talleyrand Museum, and Le Musée de l'Automobile du Centre, exhibiting over fifty vintage and antique automobiles.
Valençay: A Child Friendly Castle.
Valencay: A Castle For Children
We have been to the Chateau several times. My children love this castle and we go every Easter for the "Easter egg hunt" which takes place in the gardens and park of the castle which covers about forty hectares, not counting the vineyards. That day, apart from the free Easter eggs, the castle also offers free horse rides and horse and cart rides for the children and their families. There are also musicians and clowns in the gardens.
We like a lot the family orientated side of Valençay. Despite having a very good restaurant in site, you are allowed to take a picnic to the gardens. There are plenty of picnic tables and a vending machine for tea and coffee around the children's play area which makes it an ideal outing on a sunny day.
For young children there is a new Bouncy Castle installed this year. There is also a little farm where you can see peacocks, cocks, chickens, lambs and horses.
The children also enjoy the show in the kitchens where you can follow the preparation for a big reception in the castle. There are also other shows like the "Gallant conversations" and the "Duchess duel".
New to this year's attractions there is a section where you can dress up in period clothes and have your picture taken in the castle.
The Castle's Park
Napoleon's Great Labyrinth
For the older children and adults there is "Napoleon's maze" which is a labyrinth park. This is the biggest recreational maze in France. You need to know a bit of French to do this and you need to know A LOT about Napoleon's dates to be able to open the doors in the outdoor maze. The idea is to solve clues based on Napoleon and learn all about him while having fun. If you are not sure about your history knowledge, you can always ‘piggy back' with some French people... or cheat and get the answers at the front desk!
Napoleon's Great Labyrinth at Chateau de Valençay
Visiting the Chateau de Valençay
At the ground floor of the visited area of the Chateau, you can see the gallery and two living rooms which contain many artistic objects and sumptuous furniture Empire style, Louis XVI and Regency.
On the 1st floor, you can see the room of Ferdinand VII king of Spain. You can also see a copy of Tayllerand's rooms in Paris, his niece (rumoured to be his lover) and his wife's rooms. Also open to the visit are the kitchens and wine cave as well as one of the main dining rooms.
- The first known owners were the Estampes family.
- In 1719, the Scottish banker John law bought the Estate.
- In 1803 by orders of Napoleon, his foreign minister Charles Talleyrand acquired the property in order to hold majestic receptions in the countryside for important political and social figures of the time.
- Although not an owner, Ferdinand VII king of Spain spent six years captive in this Chateau. His room is shown to the tourists and it looks every inch as comfortable and luxurious as you could imagine!
- In 1979 the Chateau was sold to an association of historic Chateaux.
Inside the Chateau de Valençay
Candlelight Castle Tour
- My unedited life in France: Candle Light Castle Tour: Park and Chateau de Valencay
Every room, from the smallest bedroom to the big dining room and kitchens were candle lit, even the outside windows of the castle were lit with candles. The gardens were not exception to this extravagance and they were also candle lit so you ...
Room In The Chateau de Valencay
King of Spain's Bedroom From 1808 To 1814 While Prisoner Of Napoleon
The largest bedchamber in the castle was occupied by the Prince of Asturias, a prisoner of Napoleon from 1808 to 1814. The future king of Spain stayed in this gilded cage thanks to the attention of Tayllerand -the owner of the Chateau de Valençay. As you can see below, the room is beautifully decorated with panoramic wallpaper representing episodes of the life of Cupid and Psyche. Worth noticing is also the specially made bed in Louis XVI style.
Château de Valençay, King of Spain's Bedroom
Not only you can visit the magnificent kitchens set up in the basement, but throughout the month you can take part on the culinary demostrations organized by the chefs from the Tables Gourmandes du Berry Association. Each month they take a traditional recipe and reinterpret it in front of the visitors who get to taste them at the end.
The Kitchen At The Chateau The Valencay
The Garden Of Scents: Home to Over 300 Aromatic Plants
At the entrance of the Princes' Forest you will be overtaken by the fragances of mint, lavender, rosemary and many other aromatic plants. The scent garden is home to over 300 aromatic culinary plants. There is a scents game to find out how much do you know your aromas, a great challenge for children and adults. You will find stations (see below my little one using one of them) fitted with markers dowsed in essential oils. Press, smell and guess!
The Garden of Scents: Home To Over 300 Aromatic Plants
The Deer Park
The deer Park dates back to Talleyrand's day. You can enjoy the sight of free deer, big and small with their hair colour changing with the seasons.
The Deer Park
Free Roaming Peacocks And Other animals
Valençay Cheese and Wine
The Valencay region is the first to have an AOC label for two products, the goat cheese and the wine .
The cheese, one of my weaknesses is named after the town and is shaped like a pyramid with the top cut off. It is made of unpasteurised goat's milk using the traditional methods. When the cheese is firm enough it is covered with salted charcoal ash which allows the cheese to keep its flavour. This is a delicious cheese, my favourite one, as it can be soft and delicate with a nutty flavour. But the aged version can be hard and very strong -still delicious.
There are about 21 producers in the region making 350 tonnes of this cheese a year.
The wine in Valençay is still made the traditional way. There are 22 wine producers and a cooperative in the area. Valençay boasts an annual production of 8000 hectolitres from a surface of 150 hectares. The wine production is divided in White, Rose and Red. The white Valençay is recommended to accompany the Valençay cheese and fish. The Red Valençay is also very good with the cheese while it is still young. Aged, this red wine is better taken with grilled meats or for making sauces.
If You Want To But Goat's Cheese
- French White Wine
SAUVIGNON 2006 VIGNERONS DE VALENCAY : This wine comes from the Valencay co-operative in the Loire Valley. A country wine 100% Sauvignon (unusual for this area). It is dry yet aromatic with good depth on the mid palate. It has a fragrant character.
Chateau De Valençay, Our Visit
Chateau de la Guillonniere
Want to Stay in a Castle for your vacation?
- A Castle for Rent
Holiday rentals in a castle in France,from 2 up to 30 ...luxury apartments,cottages,gites for rent. You can be the "Lord " or "Lady" of the Castle de la Guillonniere during your holidays... Make your wildest dreams become true...
Open all year round, all day long .
from 29 march to 30 june from 9h00 to 18h00 .
from 1 july to 31 august from 9h30 to 19h30 . f
rom 1 september to 2 november from 9h00 to 18h00
The visited guide is some individually with the aid of headphones. The guide is available in French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and English. This is great as you can press the buttons in your audio guide to control the amount and depth of information that you require for every room visited.
Motorway A10 Paris Blois (45 m. from Blois), exit Blois. .
Autoroute A71 - A8 exit Romorantin or Selles sur Cher About 70 Km; East of Tours.
Full Price: 12,50 euros
Child's price: 4,50 euros. Free for children under 3.
Free on your Birthday!
Golf car Rental: 4 seater electric golf car rental 30 minute trip: 12 euros
Golf Car Rental at Chateau de Valencay
- Park and Chateau de Valençay
This is the official site for the Chateau de Valençay. Here you can find the prices and openning times.
Chateau de Valençay
Other Castles in the Region
- French Castles: Chateau de Azay le Ferron
The castle of AZAY-le-FERRON looks like a typical example of the beautiful Loire castles. Located in the Indre department in France, in the village of Azay le Ferron, the Chateau is an exquisite building.
- French Castles: Chateau d'Argy
Chateau d' Argy: Located in the Indre department -3 hours drive from Paris- in Central France, the Chateau d'Argy was a military castle, a fortress during the mediaeval ages.
- French Castles: Chabenet
A restored mediaeval castle in the heart of France, the chateau de Chabenet is the most beautiful castle I have seen in the area. As soon as you cross the entry gates you feel transported to a fairy tale world.
- French Castles: Bouges
This chateau in the heart of France, can satisfy the most demanding taste. It has a 40 acre park, French gardens, a museum of horse drawn carriages and hunting lodges.
FlourishAnyway from USA on July 16, 2013:
Beautiful photos. I wish I could visit.
William F Torpey from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on August 06, 2011:
That's real luxury and elegance, Princessa. Nice to look at, but it's not likely I'll ever get to see it in person. Thanks for the virtual tour.
upvc french doors on August 31, 2010:
I love castles and have to say that the French ones are some of the best in the world.
Barry Rutherford from Queensland Australia on April 18, 2010:
A.@ A Changing Life on October 13, 2009:
The hours of opening have changed since you wrote this.
Ambition398 on September 19, 2009:
Beautiful Castles. It would be awesome to really be there. Very nice Hub. Thanks
Carla Soho on August 27, 2009:
ALex on June 05, 2009:
Click to hear interview clip of the Prince d'Anjou >
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 31, 2009:
What an inviting hub with gorgeous photos and descriptions. You certainly make a case for visiting there!
Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on May 17, 2008:
Francetales: Thanks for the comment and the link ;-)
Desert blondie: There is nothing like Europe to learn about history, arts and architecture while at the same time having lots of fun!
Compu-smart: I've got your name down for the next guided tour!
Compu-Smart from London UK on May 15, 2008:
Beautiful hub, pictures and write up!
ps, Im in for a guided tour too!
desert blondie from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen on May 15, 2008:
How exquisite! Can anyone look at photos like this and NOT want to see more of Europe? NOTHING like that here in USA...although Biltmore does come close!
francetales from Toulouse, France on May 15, 2008:
I love your hubs, you do a great job covering the intersting aspects and giving enough info but not too much. Once per week I make a post on my blog where I link to interesting hubs about France, I'll be linking to this one as well.
Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on May 14, 2008:
You are welcome to came any time Rodney, I wouldn't mind giving you a tour :-)
rodney southern from Greensboro, NC on May 14, 2008:
Very interesting stuff. I would love to visit these