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Nestled in the heart of the Loire Valley, Château d’Azay-le-Rideau is one of the loveliest castles in the region. Nicknamed the castle a 'multifaceted diamond set in the River Indre!' because of its beauty by Balzac, the former fortress was purchased in 1510 by Francis I’s treasurer, Gilles Berthelot, who set about transforming it into one of the grandest châteaux in all of France.
Over the centuries, the castle changed hands several times, with each new owner adding their own extravagant stamp onto the building. Spend your time here exploring this 16th-century version of a dream home. It is one of the perfect examples of early French renaissance architecture. Built on an island in the Indre river, Château d’Azay-le-Rideau is an architectural wonder and a symbol of France's beauty and grace.
Château d'Azay-le-Rideau is one of the Loire Valley’s most prestigious castles, promising a long-lasting impression. This moat-ringed fortress has plenty of sights to behold, starting on the outside: the architecture, laced with French-Renaissance styling. Built in the middle of the Indre River, this castle is complete with fairy-tale turrets, elegant windows, high slate roofs, and intricate stonework: and that’s all before you even head inside!
As you walk in, take advantage of your skip-the-line ticket that lets you walk right into the castle without wasting time in ticketing lines. Traipse through heavily-adorned rooms under elaborate ceiling decorations in a variety of period styles. Make sure you take in the Italian-style loggia staircase that overlooks the central courtyard, decorated with ermines and salamanders. When you’re done exploring the castle’s interiors, step into the English-style gardens and soak up the beauty of d'Azay-le-Rideau!
Following the castle’s refurnishing, guests now get a taste of how the rooms looked when they were occupied by the Marquis of Biencourt in the mid-19th century! Apart from the bedroom, the salon, central room, and fireplace are rather breathtaking and exude royalty.
The bedroom of Philippe Lesbahy and her husband, Gilles Berthelot may not look like much at first, but the reconstruction of the bedroom’s highlights (the woven reeds, the bed, and the trunk) is quite mesmerizing. Fun fact: Archives and iconographic studies were used to reproduce the bed textiles!
After exploring the castle’s interiors, head out for a breath of fresh air. The site topology of Azay and the abundance of water make it an idyllic site to unwind. Find exotic flora species from North America, South America, and Asia here as well.
The northern façade is the first to greet your eye as you arrive at the château. This façade blends French tradition with Gothic art to create a true masterpiece of architecture. Look out for the sculpted decorations that continue inside the castle also!
If you want to see the château reflected in a water mirror, head over to the southern façade. Find out why it was called a “faceted diamond” here. You will also get a view of the corner tower, large bay windows, machicolations, tall dormers, and more.
Originally the site of a Roman villa, the town of Azay-le-Rideau lies along the beautiful Indre River. It is known for its maze of narrow streets and the lovely château that projects out onto the river. Here are some things you can do while you're in town:
The biggest attraction in town, without a doubt, is the Renaissance-style Château d’Azay-le-Rideau. Surrounded by a wooded park and overlooking the river Indre, this romantic castle is stunning both inside and out.
There is historical evidence that winegrowing in the Touraine began in Azay le Rideau, during the time of the Gallo-Roman Empire. Take your time exploring the vineyards around the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau, known for producing delicious white and rosé wines.
Monsieur Dufresne was an avid collector of all sorts of things. Find here, inside the museum, amazing collections of vintage vehicles, posters and peculiar objects – even a mobile guillotine!
Not part of the usual tourist route, Château de l’Islette is a hidden gem. This is where Rodin conducted his stormy love affair with fellow artist Camille Claudel. Relax in its charming gardens, perfect for a picnic or enjoy a boat ride on the lake.
Walk through Azay-le-Rideau’s historic center, mostly located along rue Balzac (the road between the castle and the Place de la Republique). In the Rue de l'Abreuvoir, to the west of the centre, you will find a watermill at the southern end and a mix of Renaissance and 19th-century buildings.
The church’s origins go back all the way to the 6th century. When its stained glass roofs were destroyed during the Second World War, they were replaced in 1955 by modern stained glass windows, which are the works of master glassmaker Max Ingrand.
The Loire Valley is known for its fairytale castles, enchanting countryside, and superb wines. Not for nothing is this region known as the "Garden of France." In fact, the entire area is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site! With more than 100 châteaux open to the public, there's quite a bit to explore, but here’s our list of the most famous castles:
The 16th-century Château de Chambord is the inspiration behind the castle in Beauty and the Beast! A major highlight of the castle is its legendary double-helix staircase, which was inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. Enjoy skip-the-line entry to the castle and explore it at your own pace.
The Château d’Amboise stands high on a hill overlooking the Loire river and the village of Amboise. Get priority access to the château with these skip-the-line tickets, enjoy the stunning views from the hill and visit the small chapel where Leonardo da Vinci was buried.
Besides being home to one of the world's most beautiful gardens, the Chenonceau Castle is known for its exciting history. Six queens and powerful women fought over this castle, and each made their own additions to the gardens!
Thanks to its colorful history and spectacular gardens, the Domaine du Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire is both educational and fun to visit. It has survived being burnt to the ground, extreme political rivalry, and the revolution!
Known for its awe-inspiring architecture, the Château de Blois is one of Loire's finest castles. Key things to explore here are King Louis XII's Gothic wing, as well as the royal apartments, and the famed see-and-be-seen staircase!
Located in the heart of Angers, the mighty fortress of Château d'Angers offers spectacular views of the city and river. Get skip-the-line tickets and see the 104-meter-long Apocalypse tapestry that illustrates the Book of Revelations.
Known for being Leonardo da Vinci’s last home, the Château du Clos Lucé boasts a wide display of the Italian maestro’s best inventions. Find here architectural wonders such as the Articulated Glider, the Tank, the Catapult, the Mechanical Drum, and more.
Château d'Azay-le-Rideau is a popular castle of Loire Valley in France. It is located in the French town Azay-le-Rideau of the Indre-et-Loire department. It is built on an island of the Indre river at Rue de Pineau, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau, France. The Azay-le-Rideau town has two railway station Tours and Saint-Pierre-des-Corps as SNCF Tours-Chinon line, with Azay train station being just 2 kms away from the chateau.
From April 1 to June 30: 9:30 AM to 6 PM
From July 1 to August 31: 9:30 AM to 7 PM
From September 1 to 30: 9:30 AM to 6 PM
Last Access: 1 hour before closing
Note: Free access to the park during the last hour.
Closed On: 1 January, 1 May & 25 December.
Best Time To Visit: Visit Château d'Azay-le-Rideau in the months of May, June, July, August, September, or October for pleasant climatic conditions. Beat crowds by visiting during the week, in the morning or late evening (closer to opening or closing times).
Address: Rue de Pineau, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau, France
By Train: The town is served by the SNCF Tours-Chinon line, within walking distance to the Château.
By Car: If you’re driving from Tours, take exit no. 11, D 751, and drive towards Chinon. If you’re driving from Poitiers, take N 10 to Sainte-Maure-de-Touraine, then D760 and D57 to Azay-le-Rideau.
Cycling Routes: The town of Azay-le-Rideau is located on the Loire à Vélo and Indre à Vélo cycle routes.
Musée Maurice Dufresne: Located near the Château of Azay-le-Rideau, it is a technological history museum located at Marnay.
Château de l'Islette: It a beautiful 16th century castle in Loire Valley, known for its castle's architecture and gardens.
Castle of Aulée: Famous for its wine collection, it is one of the most popular places to visit for tourists.
Château de Saché: Converted from the remains of a feudal castle, Château de Saché is famous for being the house of French writer French writer Honoré de Balzac.
A. Yes, Château d'Azay-le-Rideau tickets are available online.
A. Yes, your Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau tickets include skip-the-line access.
A. The château has several safety measures in place in light of COVID-19. Only a limited number of visitors are allowed inside the château at any given time. Wearing a mask is mandatory when inside, and there is hand sanitizer gel available at the entrance so you can sanitize your hands before you go in. Further, the château encourages social distancing as well as the use of credit cards for purchases.
A. Your Château d'Azay-le-Rideau tickets can be canceled 24 hours before the scheduled date of your visit.
A. The opening timings of Château d'Azay-le-Rideau are: from April 1 to June 30 it is open from 9:30 AM to 6 PM, from July 1 to August 31 it is open from 9:30 AM to 7 PM and from September 1 to 30 it is open from 9:30 AM to 6 PM
A. The best way to get to Château d'Azay-le-Rideau is by train or car.
A. Guided tours can be scheduled upon request.
Q. Audio guides are temporarily unavailable. You may download the handy guidebook to help navigate your way through the castle before your visit.
A. The months of May, June, July, August, September, and October are considered ideal to visit Château d'Azay-le-Rideau. To avoid crowds, visit mid-week, closer to the opening or closing times.
A. To ensure your safety during the visit, the kitchen, the pantry, and the attic are temporarily closed. All other rooms are accessible.
Thanks to its broad definition, the word “Chateaux” includes over 7000 castles of France because of its rich historical background and Renaissance influence. Of these 7000, around 1000 can be considered culturally significant. Here is a list of the best Castles of Loire Valley and their tickets.