Chateau Villandry

Chateau Villandry

Bonjour to you all!

There is some  interesting news for bird lovers!

The LPO, la Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (The Bird Protection League), is a very active society of which we are members. Our guests often enquire about bird life in the Loire Valley region and so to keep you up to date the LPO has awarded two recent nature awards.

At the end of  2012 the CHATEAU AND GARDENS OF VILLANDRY were awarded the ‘Refuge LPO’ label following an inventory that counted some 90 species of birds across the estate’s 25 hectares as well as the ‘EcoJardin’ label for the high standard of its ecological management.

Common Firecrest

Common Firecrest

1 . Refuge LPO label – some of the 90 or so species of bird listed include:- the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, the Grey Wagtail, the Tree Pipit, the Marsh Tit, the Sand Martin, the Stone Curlew, the Cattle Egret, the Redwing, the Common Firecrest, the Great Egret, the Little Egret and the Reed Bunting. 

2. The EcoJardin label – was launched in 2012 following the initiative of nine cities with other contracting authorities and technical partners under the auspices of Plante&Cité, the EcoJardin label and is aimed at encouraging the adoption of environmentally friendly management practices, highlighting the merits of the work carried out by gardeners who manage green spaces and raising users’ awareness of sustainable development as well as ecological practices of green spaces. Villandry is one of the first 56 green spaces to be awarded this label, and the first in the Centre Region. The gardeners at Villandry stopped using pesticides four years ago. By accepting this label, Villandry undertakes to continue and build on its action in favour of protecting the environment.

In fact, Villandry is the first Chateau to have been awarded Refuge LPO label and in 2013 it’s undertaking a major photographic report throughout the season with the association La Cambrousse, the results of which will be shown in an exhibition entitled “Villandry: a 100% Organic Garden and Haven of Biodiversity”, before being included in a complete exhibition on Villandry’s birds in June 2014.


cabbages at Villandry

The ‘Ornamental Vegetable Gardens’ at Villandry with the famous cabbages.

About a 40 minute drive from our self catering holiday accommodation at Le Clos des Guyons, on a scenic route from Le Puy Notre Dame through Saumur in the Loire Valley.  It is one of the most popular Loire Chateaux.

It was recently featured in last week’s BBC Broadcast of MONTY DON’S FRENCH GARDENS  (what a fabulous series by the way and hope you are watching it)!  

The Villandry Estate has belonged to the Carvallo family since 1906. It’s a friendly family property where each room recalls a period of history thanks to the beautiful furniture and careful choice of decoration.  It’s the last of the great Chateaux to have been built on the banks of the Loire and is in the heart of three terraces of gardens famous for its ‘Renaissance’ gardens which include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, and amazing vegetable gardens (or ‘Potager’ as is called over here).  I say amazing because thousands of  vegetables and herbs are grown in absolutely perfect geometric plots which all contribute to a marvellous sight!  (Brian and I have our own ‘petit’!!! potager at Le Clos des Guyons which includes a herb garden, and our guests are welcome to enjoy this with us during their stay, especially when our asparagus arrive, usually around the end of April/beginning of May,  it’s simply delicious and impossible to keep up with, having to be picked fresh each morning so that new shoots arrive)!

Anyway, during the month of July Villandry holds a special event where it’s open for visits at night. Over two consecutive evenings more than 5,000 candles are carefully placed around the gardens and lit early evening!   As you can imagine, this is an awesome experience. …..awesome too for the staff who spend all day long driving around the gardens working to a specific plan placing the candles for the evening’s spectacle – bravo to the team!  This spectacle is called les ‘Nuits des Mille Feux’ or ‘Night of a Thousand Lights’.  You can soak up the fairy tale atmosphere as you stroll through the gardens and it ends with a musical firework display reflected on the mirror like surface of the water. Magnifique!   The dates for 2013 are the 6th and 7th July.  


Tour de France

The Tour de France passing through fields of sunflowers

This year the Tour de France will be marking the 100th Edition and to celebrate this event, it will be on the theme of France”s cultural heritage.

So, after being to Corsica as well as the Mont Saint Michel, it will continue along the route of the Chateaux of the Loire and pass through Villandry on Thursday 11th July before going on to Tours, one of the stage towns of the Tour de France.

Château de Villandry and its gardens are quite used to receiving plenty of cyclists every year because of the “Loire à Vélo” circuit. This year Villandry will have a ringside view of the event and plenty of visitors strolling the gardens whilst waiting for the cyclists!

Lots to look forward to and can’t wait!

Bon weekend a tous!


Holiday Lets in the Loire Valley