French Castles: Chateau de Valencay

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.

Valençay's Castle

Chateau de Valençay.  At the request of Napoleon Tayllerand bought the state in 1803.  The castle is entirely furnished in Empire style.
Chateau de Valençay. At the request of Napoleon Tayllerand bought the state in 1803. The castle is entirely furnished in Empire style. | Source

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

Castle of Valencay
Castle of Valencay
The park and gardens of the castle of Valencay extends over a 53 acre domain
The park and gardens of the castle of Valencay extends over a 53 acre domain | Source

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.

Valencay Castle
Valencay Castle | Source

The Gardens

Valençay: A Child Friendly Castle.

Valençay: A Child Friendly Castle.  My little ones love it year after year.
Valençay: A Child Friendly Castle. My little ones love it year after year. | Source

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

Little princess ready for a ride
Little princess ready for a ride
ready for a free ride in a horse and cart carriage?
ready for a free ride in a horse and cart carriage?
The restaurant "L'Orangerie"
The restaurant "L'Orangerie"
"The Duchess duel"
"The Duchess duel"

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

Napoleon's Great Labyrinth at Chateau de Valençay
Napoleon's Great Labyrinth at Chateau de Valençay | Source
Napoleon's Great Labyrinth at Chateau de Valençay
Napoleon's Great Labyrinth at Chateau de Valençay | Source
Source

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 owners:

  • 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

The Blue Salon.  Decorated with Louis XV and Louis XVI style chairs, porcelain vases from China and Japon
The Blue Salon. Decorated with Louis XV and Louis XVI style chairs, porcelain vases from China and Japon | Source
The Duches of Dinio , Taillerand's niece gazes from the wall upon her former room
The Duches of Dinio , Taillerand's niece gazes from the wall upon her former room | Source
Cabinet de Toilette, here you can see a few 18 century bathroom fittings and a stunning 19th century copper bathtub.  This "bathroom" separates two bedrooms.
Cabinet de Toilette, here you can see a few 18 century bathroom fittings and a stunning 19th century copper bathtub. This "bathroom" separates two bedrooms. | Source

Room In The Chateau de Valencay

Chambre de Madame de Staël, Château de Valençay,France
Chambre de Madame de Staël, Château de Valençay,France | Source

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

 Château de Valençay, King of Spain's Bedroom
Château de Valençay, King of Spain's Bedroom | Source

The Kitchens

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

Kitchen equipped with ovens and copper utensils
Kitchen equipped with ovens and copper utensils | Source

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

Antonin's garden at the chateau de Valencay with more than 300 Aromatic plants.  The garden is named after Tayllerand's chef, one of the best cooks at that time
Antonin's garden at the chateau de Valencay with more than 300 Aromatic plants. The garden is named after Tayllerand's chef, one of the best cooks at that time | Source
Children guessing by the smell what plant is it
Children guessing by the smell what plant is it | Source

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

The Deer Park
The Deer Park | Source

Free Roaming Peacocks And Other animals

Peacock at Chateau de Valençay
Peacock at Chateau de Valençay

Valençay Cheese

Valençay Cheese
Valençay Cheese

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

show route and directions
A markerGAEC des Ramono, Denis Ducloux -
Jumeaux, 36600 Valençay, France
[get directions]

B markerGAEC du Lacas, Dominique et Gerald Pesson -
Le Lacas, 36210 Poulaines, France
[get directions]

C markerThierry Texerault -
Montaillault, 36110, France
[get directions]

D markerIwona Groussin -
6 Rue des Acacias Launay, 36600 La Vernelle, France
[get directions]

Valencay Vineyards

Valencay
Valencay | Source

Chateau De Valençay, Our Visit

Chateau de la Guillonniere

Chateau de la Guillonniere.  You can rent it for your holidays ...  from 2 up to 30 people
Chateau de la Guillonniere. You can rent it for your holidays ... from 2 up to 30 people
Aerial view of the Chateau de Valençay
Aerial view of the Chateau de Valençay

Practical Information

Opening times

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

Audioguide

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.

Access .

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.

Entry Fee

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

You can hire an electric vehicle to discover 7 historical points  at Chateau de Valencay's forest of the Prince
You can hire an electric vehicle to discover 7 historical points at Chateau de Valencay's forest of the Prince | Source

Chateau de Valençay

A markerChateau de Valencay -
Château de Valençay, 36600 Valençay, France
[get directions]

More by this Author


Comments 15 comments

rodney southern profile image

rodney southern 8 years ago from Greensboro, NC

Very interesting stuff. I would love to visit these


Princessa profile image

Princessa 8 years ago from France Author

You are welcome to came any time Rodney, I wouldn't mind giving you a tour :-)


francetales profile image

francetales 8 years ago from Toulouse, France

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.


desert blondie profile image

desert blondie 8 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

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!


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

Beautiful hub, pictures and write up!

ps, Im in for a guided tour too!

;)


Princessa profile image

Princessa 8 years ago from France Author

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!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

What an inviting hub with gorgeous photos and descriptions. You certainly make a case for visiting there!


ALex  7 years ago

Click to hear interview clip of the Prince d'Anjou >

www.redicecreations.com/winterwonderland/meroveredragon.html


Carla Soho profile image

Carla Soho 7 years ago

beautiful place


Ambition398 profile image

Ambition398 7 years ago

Beautiful Castles. It would be awesome to really be there. Very nice Hub. Thanks


A.@ A Changing Life 7 years ago

The hours of opening have changed since you wrote this.


barryrutherford profile image

barryrutherford 6 years ago from Queensland Australia

beautiful images...


upvc french doors 6 years ago

I love castles and have to say that the French ones are some of the best in the world.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 5 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

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.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Beautiful photos. I wish I could visit.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working