- 02 47 45 42 04
- adult/child €7.50/free
- 9.30am-6pm, to 7pm Jul & Aug, 10am-12.30pm & 2-5.30pm Oct-Mar
Lonely Planet review for Château d’Azay-le-Rideau
Romantic, moat-ringed Azay-le-Rideau is wonderfully adorned with slender turrets, geometric windows and decorative stonework, wrapped up within a shady landscaped park. Built in the 1500s on a natural island in middle of the River Indre, the château is one of the Loire’s loveliest: Honoré de Balzac called it a ‘multifaceted diamond set in the River Indre’.
Its most famous feature is its open loggia staircase, in the Italian style, overlooking the central courtyard and decorated with the salamanders and ermines of François I and Queen Claude. The interior is mostly 19th century, remodelled by the Marquis de Biencourt from the original 16th-century château built by Gilles Berthelot, chief treasurer for François I. In July and August, ason et lumière (one of the Loire’s oldest and best) is projected onto the castle walls nightly. Multilanguage audioguides cost €4.50 and seven daily guided tours in French are free.