Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau, Loire Valley

Photo of Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau in Indre-et-Loire

Discover Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau


Particularly glamorous on the outside due to its picture postcard setting on an island in the gently flowing Indre river, Chateaud Azay-le-Rideau is less ostentatious (and less large) than many of the castles in the Loire Valley, which makes it an interesting contrast and a castle not to be missed, even if 'chateau fatigue' starts to set in.

History of Chateau Azay-le-Rideau

Constructed in the early 16th century (between 1518 and 1527), Azay-le-Rideau castle is one of the earliest examples of Loire castles to be built in the French Renaissance style.

At that epoch, the wife of Gilles Berthelot (mayor of nearby Tours and treasurer to King Francois I) inherited the site, and there was already a fortified castle in this seemingly tranquil location when Mme Berthelot began work on renovation and rebuilding the castle.

Shortly after the castle was finished, King Francois I charged Berthelot with embezzling state funds and the King seized the castle from Berthelot to give to a senior army officer. Over the following centuries it had various owners, until it was bought in the 20th century to be renovated, furnished, and opened to the public as a listed National Monument.

Visiting Chateau Azay-le-Rideau

Entrance to Azay-le-Rideau castleThe castle at Azay le Rideau faces across the river (and moat formed by the river) to the south, and is most attractive (and most photographed) from the gardens on the other side of the river.

As a whole, including the west wing, the castle forms an 'L' shape, with each corner having a substantial tower. The predominant architectural style is based on ideas copied from the Italian renaissance building style, although the roof style and the conical roofs on the towers are more French style in origin.

While it is undoubtedly the setting and the overall exterior appearance that are the most memorable aspect of a visit, the inside of Chateau Azay le Rideau is also very impressive with several lavishly furnished rooms, on a more manageable scale than the larger Loire castles.

The most important individual highlight is the staircase, set within the castle walls and with a richly decorated facade facing the interior 'courtyard' formed by the 'L' but open to the elements. In the staircase itself note in particular the finely decorated celing decorations.

To complete your visit to chateau Azay-le-Rideau, stroll through the attractive parkland that surrounds the castle.

The chateau is a listed French National Monument and also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

See more Loire Valley castles.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Indre-et-Loire guide and the Loire Valley guide.

See also:

Map of Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau and places to visit

Visit near Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Indre-et-Loire

Address: Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, Indre-et-Loire, Loire Valley, France || GPS: latitude 47.2592, longitude 0.4661

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Les jardins de la Chatonnière: remarkable garden
  • Les jardins du château de Villandry: remarkable garden (10km)
  • Crissay-sur-Manse: most beautiful village (12km)
  • Chinon: secteur sauvegarde (19km)
  • Les jardins du prieuré de Saint-Cosme: remarkable garden (21km)
  • Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire: ville fleurie 4* (22km)
  • Les jardins du château du Rivau: remarkable garden (22km)
  • Tours: town of art and history (22km)
  • Cloisters of la Psalette: national monument (22km)
  • Le jardin des Prébendes d'Oé: remarkable garden (22km)