Pass one vibrant green vineyard after another on winding country roads to arrive at the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire perched on a cliff looking out over the Loire River.
The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, an elegant castle right out of a storybook, is set in a bucolic paradise with beautiful colour-coordinated gardens and towering shapely cedar trees. The cedar trees frame the castle, the turrets stretch skyward and the view over the Loire River is breathtaking.
The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire is magical, like stepping straight into a fairytale.
Pro Travel Tip:
If you are visiting other châteaux in the Loire Valley, the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire is close to the castles of Chenonceau, Amboise, and Blois. Allow yourself a minimum of 2 hours to visit the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire.
A Little History Of The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire
There has been a castle in this exact spot since the year 1000. A strategic location, the comte of Blois could keep watch over the border between the county of Blois and the county of Anjou.
In 1465, Louis XI had the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire burned to the ground to punish Pierre 1st d’Amboise for partaking in a plot of nobles who were against the king. Belonging to the Amboise family for over 500 years, the castle was rebuilt a few years later by Charles II d’Amboise in the Renaissance style.
Catherine de Medici acquired the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire in 1550. In 1560, she handed it over to Diane de Poitiers in exchange for the castle of Chenonceau. It was Diane de Poitiers who gave the castle its current appearance.
In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray had the north wing demolished to open up a spectacular view over the Loire River.
In 1875 Marie-Charlotte-Constance Say bought the château and a few months later married Prince Henri-Amédée de Broglie. The Princess de Broglie decorated the rooms elegantly and sumptuously in the Renaissance style. After all, there would be parties at the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire for decades where entertaining illustrious guests from all over Europe was the norm. There are photographs in the grand staircase of some of the important guests who were received at Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire, including King Edward VII of England and the King of Portugal, Don Carlos.
After the crash of the sugar market in 1905 from whence her fortune came, the death of her husband in 1917, and the stock market crash of 1929, Princess de Broglie’s fortune was dwindling.
In 1930, Princess de Broglie remarried at the age of 72 and became the Princess of Orleans and Bourbon. Her financial setbacks required that she hand the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire over to the state in 1938. Don’t worry. She lived out her days in luxury at the Ritz and the George V in Paris.
Pro Travel Tip:
It’s a bit tricky to pronounce the family name de Broglie. In French, it sounds like “de Breuil.” For an English speaker, try “de Bruy.”
The Chaumont-sur-Loire Castle
Cross the drawbridge to start your visit. Poke about the fabulous bookstore and then follow the set route through the castle to view sumptuous rooms with exposed wooden beams and exquisitely painted tile floors. Tapestries line the walls, Louis XII’s royal symbol, the porcupine, watches over fireplaces, and the regal dining table is set to welcome guests.
Some of the highlights to notice when visiting the Chaumont-sur-Loire Castle are the grand spiral staircase (imagine sweeping down the steps in a ballgown), and the Planets and Days Tapestries from the late-16th century. In the Catherine de Médicis room, note the oldest tapestry in the castle dating from the 15th century and the portrait of Catherine de Médicis. Stand and take in the details of the remarkable bed and the detailed carvings.
Each room from the Italian astrologer Cosimo Ruggieri’s to the King’s Room and the Guard’s Room offers a glimpse into the luxuriant life of the de Broglie family.
Visit The Stables At the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire
Built in 1877, the stables or “ecuries” of the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire are fabulous, in fact luxurious! It is not hard to conjure up images of thoroughbred stallions neighing in their regal stalls each identified by a personalized, elegant plaque. Around the courtyard, one finds the shed for horse-drawn carriages, the tack room, and the pony stable.
This stable housed only horses for the de Broglie family. Invited guests had a separate stable which is not open to the public.
Wander The Historic Grounds At The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire
There is a tranquil feel to Chaumont-sur-Loire. Pathways through forest and gardens lead to views over the Loire River, a pet cemetery, the ancient water tower, and sporadically placed benches invite you to relax. The trees are cleverly placed so that one’s gaze most often lands on the entrance to the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire. It’s a true fairytale setting.
The Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire: Art Exhibitions
The Chaumont-sur-Loire is a centre for Arts and Nature and welcomes temporary art installations each year. This year there are about 15 artists whose creative, poetic, nature-oriented works are placed around the Domain, the Stables, and the Historic Grounds.
International Garden Festival At Chaumont-sur-Loire
The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire is well-known for its International Garden Festival (Festival International des Jardins de Chaumont-sur-Loire) which has been running since 1992. For its 30th anniversary, the theme this year is “The Ideal Garden.” About 30 artists and landscape artists from around the world create gardens related to the theme with the stipulation that the gardens must be at their best in the fall!
In 2024, the International Garden Festival at the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire runs from April 24 to November 3.
Evenings In the Gardens At Chaumont-sur-Loire: Through July and August 2024, the Gardens At Chaumont-sur-Loire are open in the evening from 10 pm to midnight. Walk to lovely music amongst the lit-up gardens. Magical.
Restaurants At The Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire
You won’t go hungry at the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire. There are three cafés where you can stop for tea, ice cream or a meal. Take a seat on a terrace or enjoy takeout! One of the restaurants, Le Grand Velum, creates its menu around the International Garden Festival’s theme! And the other, Le Comptoir des Tilleuls, uses regional and bio ingredients in its dishes.
Visiting the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire: The Practicalities
Location Of The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire:
The Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire is located in the Centre-Val de Loire Region in the Loire-et-Cher department. Situated between Blois and Amboise (which both have beautiful châteaux), the Chaumont-sur-Loire Castle is perched on the left bank of the Loire River.
Getting To The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire By Car:
Follow the D952 which is on the right bank of the Loire and then the subsidiary highway D751.
Parking is free at le Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire.
Getting To Le Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire By Train:
Take the train to the town of Onzain which is 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) from the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire. When buying your ticket, put in the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire as your final destination. There is a shuttle from the train station in Onzain to the castle at Chaumont-sur-Loire. The shuttle runs daily in July and August and on weekends from May through November. Check out the full details of the Azalys schedule.
Getting To Chaumont-sur-Loire Castle By Bicycle:
Take the “Loire à Vélo” cycle path. Free bike racks and lockers are available.
Hours Of The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire:
The Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire is open daily year-round, except on January 1 and December 25.
High Season: 10 am to 7:00 pm Note that the last entry is one hour before closing.
Low Season: Closing hours vary. Check the schedule here.
2024 Entry Rates: Low Season from January to April 23, 2024: 15.00€ per adult; High Season from April 24 to November 3, 2024: 20.00€ per adult
I hope you enjoy visiting the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire as much as I did!
Until next time,
More Travel Info…
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Resources For Other Regions of France:
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Provence is always a winner. Follow this 7-day itinerary for a great trip.
The Dordogne Valley is a little less-discovered and a fabulous region to plan a holiday.
And a trip to le Pays Basque is never a bad idea! Start here in Biarritz.
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