The Loire Valley is noted for its high density of sumptuous castles dotting the landscape alongside a 280km-long stretch of the Loire River between Chalonnes-sur-Loire and Sully-sur-Loire. This entire area with its many architectural gems is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Villandry Castle and Garden, Centre-Val de Loire, France.
Although on the left bank of the Cher River but only a few kilometers away from the confluence with the Loire River, the Castle of Villandry is also part of this UNESCO World Heritage site. In 1532, Jean Le Breton acquired the previous medieval castle, razed it with the exception of the keep and built around it the castle we see today. Centre-Val de Loire, France.
Jean Le Breton, also designed the ornamental garden surrounding his castle. Villandry Garden, Centre-Val de Loire, France.
Chambord Castle has, undoubtedly, the most representative architecture of the French Renaissance style from the 16th century. It was built by Francis I to be used as a hunting lodge. Alongside the Loire River, hundreds of castles (no definite numbers) are recognized by UNESCO for their outstanding architecture, Chambord Castle is the largest of them all. Centre-Val de Loire, France.
The size of Chambord Castle is very impressive: it has 440 rooms, 282 fireplaces, and 84 staircases. Equally impressive is the walled park surrounding the castle: it covers an area of 54.4km2 (or about half the size of the city of Paris). Centre-Val de Loire, France.
Unique amongst all castles in the Loire Valley, and elsewhere, is the profusion of turrets and chimneys ornamenting the roof of Chambord Castle. Centre-Val de Loire, France.