The Château of Azay le Rideau!!!

And on my way back from my road warrior trip in the Loire Valley of the Kings, I had time to stop by another castle. I chose Azay le Rideau, believe or not ,this is my first visit to this castle. It was impressive as all of them in my belle France. Lucky enough to be less than 4 hrs from them ,and need more time to see them all!!! Let me tell you a bit more on the town and castle of Azay le Rideau! Hope you enjoy the post as I.

Azay le Rideau is located in the department of Indre-et-Loire 41, the Centre-Val de Loire region, On January 1, 2017, it was integrated into the new community of towns Touraine Vallée de l’Indre. It is located in the Loire-Anjou-Touraine Regional Natural Park.

A bit of history on the town tell us that on July 4, 1189, Henry II Plantagenet, King of England, faced a coalition of his sons with Philip Augustus, King of France. His defeat ended with the Treaty of Azay-le-Rideau which established his son Richard the Lion Hearted as sole heir to the throne of England.  Honoré de Balzac quotes Azay-le-Rideau in his novels, in particular Le Lys dans la vallée (1836). The descendants of Armand de Biencourt having kept or having been able to buy back part of his important collection during sales, his granddaughter Marguerite Marie Amélie donated in 1939 to the “Musée Condé” in Chantilly a set of 52 portraits drawn by old masters ( François and Jean Clouet, Corneille de Lyon, Holbein, Memling, Pourbus, Cranach, Rubens, Stella).

It is accessible by the TER Tours – Chinon line which systematically stops in the town. I came from Amboise taken the road D31 to the autoroute/expressway A85 to the road D751 direction Azay le Rideau and into the castle. The parking is paying we did 2,80€ and just walk around the corner into the castle entrance, easy even with a wheelchair and Dad in tow in addition to our dog Rex!

The Château Azay le Rideau is one of the most beautiful Renaissance architectural marvels along the Loire valley It was built early 16C skillfully combining French architecture and Italian-Flemish influences In the 17C , a monumental entrance with a grand staircase was built with a half moon courtyard In the 19C 3 generations of the Marquis de Biencourt focused the restoration to elevate Azay to the rank of national treasure.

Azay le Rideau castle entr out jan22

Azay le Rideau castle entr front jan22

Azay le Rideau castle from entr ofc jan22

There is a Secret Garden in the 19C, today a conservatory garden planted with heirloom vegetables of the Centre Val de Loire region, There is the Priory Garden where a priory once stood and now it is an English garden, This leads you to the Main Courtyard or Cour d’honneur with an L shape logis and two facades in tuffeau, The Grand staircase is composed of four tiers of bays that are staggered in relation to the other windows of the logis, The emblems and initials of the salamander and ermine of François I and Claude de France (daughter of Anne de Bretagne), This Grand staircase very modern in 16C France was built at the center of the main building, with nice landings and a handrail sculpted into the wall attest the quest for comfort in its conception,The standings opening into loggias allowing people to look out while also being seen are covered by quite different vaults ,the arches of which are decorated with ermines, salamanders, and putti cherubs,  You come into the Great Hall or Grande Salle, with a monumental fireplace, tapestries and various wooden furniture.

Azay le Rideau castle to front ofc and garden moat jan22

Azay le Rideau castle grand staircase out jan22

Azay le Rideau castle le pressoir entr jan22

Azay le Rideau castle grand staircase jan22

You move on to the Psyche’s room, located beyond the Great Hall , the room was used as a bedroom during the Renaissance, It owes its name today to the wonderful tapestries adorning its walls telling the story of Psyche a methodological theme very much in vogue in the Renaissance, There are scenes depicted on them with the central one telling the story of Psyche persuaded by her sisters, the young girl tried to discovered the identity of Cupid and glimpses his face by the light of an oil lamp, A drop of burning oil falls on the god, who at once flees, abandoning her,

Azay le Rideau castle psyche room jan22

Azay le Rideau castle psyche room tapestries jan22

There is a little room as the wardrobe during the Renaissance period and then goes into the Renaissance room used as a living space then, People slept, ate here etc, The room reflects the 16C interiors as the bed is the main of the decor, There is a painting work of Primaticcio from the 16C.

Azay le Rideau castle work room jan22

You move into the Antechamber which served as a waiting room for people waiting to be received by the lord into his private apartments, Portraits of kings hangs on the wall from the Renaissance to the 17C, Louis XII can be seen on the left of the fireplace, then a series of portraits of François I, Henri II, and Henri III, Facing the fireplace portraits of Henri IV, Louis XIII, and Louis XIV shown standing.

Azay le Rideau castle antechambre room chimney jan22

Azay le Rideau castle antechambre room paintings jan22

The King’s bedroom where Louis XIII spent two nighs in 1619, The cabinet motifs shows the macabre episodes of the Thirty Years’ War which devastated Europe, The walls are adorned with 17C tapestries after the cartoons by Simon Vouet illustrating two episodes from Jerusalem Delivered , an epic by Torquato Tasso a celebrated Italian Renaissance poet,

Azay le Rideau castle bedroom kings jan22

We move on to the Biencourt Salon, Which as a state room ,its furnishing are of the highest quality, inviting distinguished guests to relax, A layout worthy of the best from the 19C aristocratic residences, You see an equestriajn statue of Louis XII, porcelain from the Indies, and a collection of 300 paintings from the 16-17C of great figures of France.

Azay le Rideau castle salon biencourt jan22

Azay le Rideau castle bedroom Biencourt jan22

You move to the wonderful Billiards ‘room, Portraits from the 16-17C belonging to the Biencourt family decorate this room, Amongst others, you see opposite the fireplace a 16C work representing Psyche bringing Proserpine’s vase to Venus, At the far end there is a remarkable bust in white marble and bronze of Henri IV in his robes.

Azay le Rideau castle billiards room jan22

Azay le Rideau castle billiards room et chimney jan22

There is the storeroom to house tableware, linen, etc for daily use as well as the necessary utensils for preparing meals, Next you have the kitchen with a ground level raised in the 19C, the fireplace and wells were just over a meter below and installed 16C, Follow up with the Dining Room ; where the table is set up according to the 19C with the Biencourt porcelain table service and completed with a table service of Louis XV, the dishes from the 18C.

Azay le Rideau castle dining room jan22

Azay le Rideau castle kitchen jan22

Azay le Rideau castle kitchen oven jan22

You have a corridor opened into the main coutryard from the 16C, and the Salon Library arranged according to furniture of 1854, You see gaming tables, musical boxes, and books with comfortable Louis Philippe sofas, bergeres, and armchairs ideal for relaxation and conversation, You go up the large attic given extra height because the walls supporting the trusses are raised above floor level, The original framework is oak,which was cut on the authority of François I in 1517 in the forest of Chinon.

Azay le Rideau

Azay le Rideau castle corridor stairs jan22

Azay le Rideau castle large attic jan22

The Château d’Azay le Rideau was taken over by the government of France in 1905 bare of all furniture,It was initially furnished by loans from public collections notably the Musée du Louvre and the Musée National du Moyen Âge, Since 2015, special partnership with the Centre des monuments nationaux has allowed for the restoration of about 100 pieces of furniture, carpets, objects, and works of arts incarnating the art of living in the 19C.

Another wonderful castle in the valley of the kings of the Loire. Again, hope you enjoy the post as I

The Azay-Chinon-Val de Loire tourist office on the castle

The Touraine Val de Loire tourist office on the castle

The city of Azay le Rideau on its heritage

There you go folks, another dandy castle in the Loire! The Château d’Azay le Rideau is another worth the detour castle me think. We enjoy it and our quest to see them all continues, the castles of the Loire are awesome. A good reason to leave out Paris indeed.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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