After a restful and restorative night in the Domaine de la Tortinière, we made a beeline for our first château of the trip: the beautiful and perfectly-formed Azay-le-Rideau. Located in the prettiest of little towns (even in the driving rain), we wandered through the cobbled streets in search of lunch before visiting the castle.

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There are a handful of restaurants/cafés but I would recommend Coté Cour above the others. They offer a set menu chalked up on a blackboard, with a couple of options for each course and it works out at a very reasonable price. The perfect sustenance for a day of château chasing ahead.


The castle itself was under construction went we visited but its charm and uniqueness was still very much apparent. As is the case with a few of the châteaux in the region, Azay-le-Rideau rises from the water which gives it a truly magical feel – and the conical turrets are pretty awe-inspiring too.

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You can visit the rooms inside too – as it was our first, we did pay the extra to go in, but I wouldn’t do it for every castle you visit. For many, the gardens are breath-taking enough on their own!

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A perfect little taster for what was to come…