Chateau du Lude
Visit Chateau du Lude
- Date of construction: 13th-18th
- Location: Indre-et-Loire, Loire Valley
Château du Lude is a beautiful château on the banks of the Loir. The original medieval fortress, built to defend Anjou, has been added to over the centuries and now each facade is an example of a different era of French architecture. The chateau is one of the first you come to when arriving at the Loire valley from the north.
During the Hundred Years war Le Lude was occupied by the English but was later liberated by Gilles de Rais, better known as’Bluebeard’.
In 1457 Jehan de Daillon, chamberlain to Louis XI aquired the castle and his descendents employed Italian artists to convert the fortress into a residence. Defensive slit-windows were opened up into sculpted, mullioned windows letting in lots of light.
In 1685 the last member of the Daillon familly died and the castle was bought by Joseph Duvelaer, a member of the East Indian Company. He carried out major restorations and left the property to his niece the Marquise de la Vieuville. She built the West Wing which is a lovely example of Classical French architecture. Upon her death the castle passed to the Talhouet family, whose descendents Count and Countess de Nicolay still live in the castle.
Inside the château there are some very lavishly decorated rooms and there is a ‘Cabinet of Paintings’, which is an Italian-style studiolo (a type of painted room) which is the only one in a French château and is a treat. The old vaulted kitchens in the basement are very impressive.
Don’t miss the gardens here, they really are lovely with a parterre garden on the upper terrace filled with a mass of roses, alliums, nepeta and much more. This overlooks a more formal garden which runs along the edge of the river to a chinese pavillion surrounded by another garden. There is also a large and very impressive kitchen garden.