The Loire Valley in France is a magical destination for photographers. It is famous for its magnificent castles and chateaus, never-ending vineyards, and beautiful river-side landscapes. You can point your camera just about anywhere and capture a beautiful scene.
For garden photographers, the Loire Valley is a paradise. Many of the chateaus have stunning gardens. You can find everything from formal French, to humble kitchen gardens. One place that has something for every garden lover is the Chateau Villandry.
I was fortunate to visit the Chateau Villandry in the autumn of 2008. While the chateau itself is overshadowed by some of its showier rivals, the gardens are unrivalled.
The chateau was completed sometime around 1536 but it wasn’t until the 19th century that the gardens were laid out in the current English formal style. The gardens include a kitchen garden, a love garden, a music garden, an herb garden, a water garden, a sun garden and a garden maze. They are laid out over three levels and view of the entire garden can be had from the chateau as well as from various high points around the property.
The gardens are replanted several times throughout the year so there is colour during all four seasons. This means that there is really no bad time to visit Villandry as there is always something in the garden to photograph.
As with most tourist destinations, it’s best to arrive early or just before closing, to catch the best light and the fewest crowds.
Below you can see some of my photos from the Chateau Villandry. Click on the thumbnail for a larger view with captions.