Euro Trip 2008 Part 2 – Chateau Villandry

By alison - November 18, 2008 (Updated: December 3, 2014)

Read Euro Trip 2008 Part 1

Loire1008-49.jpgAfter our Amsterdam adventure, Mom and Dad had a few days to discover Brussels with me. It was a nice change since they missed out on seeing the sights the last time they visited us in Everberg. They were able to explore the beautiful Art Nouveau architecture in my neighbourhood, visit Grand Place, eat real Belgian waffles, and see some of my favourite places.

After two days of sightseeing and packing, we threw them in the back of the Prius for our European Adventure. This was the ultimate test for our new car and I’m happy to say she passed with flying colours. (Although I’m sure Mom and Dad were more than happy to say good-bye to her, and all of the driving, when they left).

Our first stop was in the Loire Valley of France. Andrew and I had previously tried to visit the area, back when Orange became sick. Fortunately this time everyone remained healthy. We could only budget our time for a one night stay in Tours, which meant we could only visit two of the literally hundreds of castles and Chateaus in the area.

After checking in to our hotel in Tours, on the first afternoon, we went to visit The Chateau Villandry. This castle was on my short list because it is said to have the largest formal gardens of any of the Chateaus. I was certainly not disappointed.

The Chateau is built on the grounds of a former fortress in the 1500s. During the French Revolution the property was confiscated and in the early 1800’s Emperor Napoleon acquired it
for his brother Joseph Bonaparte.

In 1906, Dr. Joachim Carvallo bought the Chateau and spent an enormous amount of time and money to restore it and the gardens to their former splendour. It is still owned by the Carvallo family, although it is open to the public, and in 1934 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Words cannot do justice to the beauty of the formal gardens… so I’ll leave you with a small sample of the photos I took there. Watch the Photoblog for more over the coming days.


Love castles, palaces, and ruins like in this article? Us too! Don’t miss the full listing of Castles we’ve visited in Europe and beyond.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
I loved my time in Riga, Latvia a few years ago and Adi's post takes me right back. It's a European travel... - 22 hours ago


  1. Comment by Andrew

    Andrew November 19, 2008 at 16:29

    The colours in the garden were amazing! Beautiful property… I liked the tower of course… and there were lots of fish! I don’t know if everyone can see it, but I love the different greens in the hedges where there are different plants. A great first stop in our adventure. Great photos, love!

  2. Comment by RoundAmerica

    RoundAmerica November 19, 2008 at 22:06

    I came across your blog totally by accident. enjoyed the photos and your stories. We travel all over the US, but we’ll keep these notes for our next European trip. By the way, I noticed yolu used Viator. Our son happens to own the largest tour company in the world, so next time, give him a try at All the best.

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