Chateau du Rivau, Loire Valley

Photo of Chateau du Rivau in Indre-et-Loire

Discover Chateau du Rivau


The Chateau de Rivau is situated in Lémere, in the centre of the Loire Valley and about 12 kilometres south-east of Chinon. It is one of the smaller of the castles in the region, and very attractively proportioned while avoiding the excessive ornamentation that many of the castles feature.

The Chateau de Rivau is now one of the most important tourist destinations in the Touraine region.

History and design of Chateau du Rivau

Built in the middle of the 15th century, the castle is essentially medieval in design with the keep, round towers, a moat and a drawbridge dominating the external appearance.

Despite the external defensive appearance and military elements Rivau incorporates many renaissance style elements such as the windows, added after the original castle was built. These elements are perhaps more obvious inside Chateau du Rivau, which is a much more comfortable and well equipped interior than we would find in a medieval fortress, with large comfortably furnished salons and monumental fireplaces.

The substantial stables here were added a little later (around 1510) by François de Beauvau, a military captain for the French King and it was here that the horses used by the royal family were kept and trained*. Not how you might imagine stables, these are a substantial two storey building that is more substantial than many fine houses...

* Le Rivau was an important source of military horses before this and as early as 1429, towards the end of the Hundred Years' War and before the siege of Orleans, Joan of Arc and her followers came here for their horses.

The current owners of Chateau du Rivau bought it about 20 years ago, and over the last two decades they have carried out a very extensive programme of renovation works on the castle, stables and winery, which had started to fall into serious disrepair.

Gardens at Chateau du Rivau

The owners have also planned and reinstated extensive gardens at the castle, based around a series of twelve newly designed gardens that are intended to evoque the medieval art of gardening through the use of modern planting, and incorporating various other artistic objects.

Called the Fairytale Gardens these are officially listed as "remarkable gardens" and are perhaps the principal reason why visitors come to the castle.

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 du Rivau and places to visit

Visit near Chateau du Rivau with France This Way reviews

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

Address: Lémeré, Richelieu, Chinon, Indre-et-Loire, Loire Valley, 37120, France || GPS: latitude 47.1037, longitude 0.3233

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Les jardins du château du Rivau: remarkable garden (2km)
  • Chinon: secteur sauvegarde (10km)
  • Richelieu: secteur sauvegarde (10km)
  • Crissay-sur-Manse: most beautiful village (14km)
  • Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau: national monument (20km)
  • Les jardins de la Chatonnière: remarkable garden (21km)
  • Loudun: recommended detour (21km)
  • Aquarium de Loudun: aquarium (21km)
  • Collegiale Church (Candes-Saint-Martin): religious monument (22km)
  • Candes-Saint-Martin: most beautiful village (22km)