Chateau du Lude, Sarthe: visitors guide
Visit Chateau du Lude, France
The Chateau du Lude, next to the Loir and near Le Maine, La Touraine and l'Anjou, is the first of the Loire's chateaux that you reach when arriving from the north - it is a historic seat and also a living, family country-house.
Built as a strategic place to defend Anjou, Barbe Bleue regained the Chateau du Lude in a triumphant fight against the English during the Hundred Years War. Both surprising and impressive with it's architectural ornaments and styles, the chateau is a real testimony to six centuries of French architecture.
History of Chateau du Lude
Since the 10th century, this fortress has been protected and made more and more beautiful by its owners, and has been in the hands of the same family for the last 250 years. Nowadays, this chateau is still inhabited, animated and protected by the De Nicolay's family.
Since the Daillon family were associates of François 1st as well as the Italian and French Renaissance, this vast residence has adapted to its time and saw visits by Henri IV and Louis XIII. Although the Daillon dynasty came to an end in 1685, the castle survived and was fully restored at the end of the 17th century by its owner, Joseph Julien Duvalaer, a member of the East India Company.
It was at the end of the Classical period (as you can see in the eastern wing towards the Loir), and the disappearance of the Marquise de Vieuville, that the castle entered, by succession, into ownership by the family of Talhouët, who made transformations in the 19th century.
The castle and gardens of Lude are now the property of the Count and Countess of Nicolaÿ who continue the tradition of restoration and beautification of this castle. This continuity in the process of family and heritage includes the development of interiors, as well as the creation and beautification of new gardens.
Chateau du Lude: gardens
The landscaping of the park and gardens began in the 17th century, when the old fortress gave way to the large terrace lined with a long and elegant balustrade, opening the view to the countryside and overlooking the Loir.
The low gardens that once held the vegetable gardens slowly followed the evolution of the fashion of the gardens, giving way to large romantic French gardens, of which the most notable are due to the landscape gardener Edouard André at the end of the 19th century. It contains flower beds and ponds, completed by large roses and shrubs with scented flowers against the wall. This very orderly look contrasts with the opposite bank, converted into an "agricultural park" with majestic perspectives.
The park was planted in English, purple beech offering a beautiful perspective to the castle. The garden of the spring, on the edge of the park, characterizes the development of a romantic garden in the 19th century. In a rock decoration, the spring is buried under a grotto surrounded by a setting of perennials and bushes with winter and spring blooms.
Finally, the Garden of the Spur was created with the Louis XVI wing in the 18th century. It was redesigned in 1997. The walls of the old fortifications are highlighted by hedges of yew trees. They house a rose garden dedicated mainly to Chinese roses, while a labyrinth of boxwood occupies the triangle of the former defensive spur. Recent developments have been undertaken in the park, such as the botanical walk created under the direction of botanist Jacky Pousse.
A large vegetable garden is spread over three levels, where collections of flowers, fruits and vegetables surround the greenhouses and the orangery. A private part of the garden, the vegetable garden is however open one weekend per month and on request. Its production is intended for family consumption, but also for the preparation of jams prepared in the old vaulted kitchens of the 15th century. Just like the kitchens, the stables, the underground areas as well as the wheat attic with its wooden framework constitute very evocative places of the life of another time.
Visitor Information for Chateau du Lude
Le Lude is a fine example of French architecture. From the Middle Ages to the 18th century, different styles can be seen in its construction, and in the salons, kitchens and outbuildings.
Chateau du Lude is surrounded by lovely gardens, and you’re invited to stroll through the French-style gardens and discover the rose garden, the “parc romantique”, and the vegetable garden (the vegetable garden is only open on special days and by request for groups).
Opened from the 1st of april to the 30th of september
Gardens 10-12.30 a.m. and 2 - 6 p.m.
Castle 2 -6 p.m.
telephone: 02 43 94 60 09 / fax 02 43 45 27 53
The above photo and information for Chateau du Lude was kindly contributed by Chateau du Lude
See more Loire Valley castles.
Map of Chateau du Lude and places nearby
Visit near Chateau du Lude with France This Way reviews
... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Sarthe
Plan your visit to Chateau du Lude, Sarthe
Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby
- Parc et jardins du château du Lude: remarkable garden
- La Fleche: recommended detour (18 km)
- Parc de Lathan: remarkable garden (19 km)
- Jardin d’atmosphère du Petit Bordeaux: remarkable garden (20 km)
Market days in Chateau du Lude, France
Regular market(s) are held in Chateau du Lude each Thursday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Chateau du Lude (Francais)