A barge holiday in France is one of the very best ways to see the country. Coursing gently along the waterways with the sun shining down and a gentle breeze blowing is an idyllic setting, which is sure to appeal to anybody. There’s a reason why so many people return to the rivers and canals of this amazing country year after year. |
One of the main decisions visitors have to make is: where shall I go on my barge holiday? In France you are spoiled for choice, but perhaps among the finest stops is the Chateau Villandry in the Loire Valley. Not only is the region itself a tremendous stop, famed for natural beauty and wine production, but it is home to a chateau that is beyond compare.
One of the most famous snippets of history you’ll encounter on a barge holiday in France that stops at Chateau Villandry, is that it is the site of a meeting between Phillip II of France and Richard I of England – they met to discuss their nations’ differences and possible resolutions. Such a setting must have been ideal!
Despite castles of the time being built for their defensive qualities, this one was built for its style. You can easily see this aspect of it as you wander through its stunning interiors and marvel at its gardens.
As historic sites of the Loire go, it’s a really substantial place. Confiscated by Napoleon in the 1800s, before being left to its own devices for a century, eventually money and care was given to this stunning building and it was restored to the glory you can see today.
A Wonder of Design
While it’s the gardens that take most of the headlines, the interiors of the buildings are not without their charm. Fans of interior design and architecture will want to make this a stop on their barge holiday. In France, a variety of design styles are to be expected and Villandry doesn’t disappoint: you can see Moorish ceilings, art from Spain and Belgium as well as classical French design.
There are a number of wonderful gardens that guests can enjoy when they visit the castle. You’ll encounter vegetable plots with roots cleverly planted in geometric patterns, gardens with a purely ornamental style and hedges trimmed into a maze-like pattern – a walk through on a sunny afternoon is just perfect.
The extensive site can also be enjoyed from height. Walking a path behind the grounds leads to a viewing point from which the scale and beauty of the gardens can be truly appreciated. The village for which the castle is named sits in the background in a most picturesque manner.
A Journey to Remember
A visit to the Chateau Villandry can truly make any barge holiday in France complete. It’s one of the highlights of the Loire Valley and seeing it for yourself will allow you to really understand why it’s held in such high regard.
To get the very best out of your trip it’s important to book with a reputable tour operator. They can ensure your needs are met, provide security and will have specialist knowledge about what stops might suit your tastes.
Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider if you're looking for an all-inclusive, luxury barge holiday in France or other great destinations. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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