Although it was the last of the great Renaissance châteaus in the Loire Valley, the Château de Villandry is best-known for its magnificent gardens. In the early 20th century, when the château was abandoned and due to be demolished, Joachim Carvallo bought it and decided to create five French formal gardens in a Renaissance style.
The decorative Kitchen Garden consists of nine squares forming a multi-coloured chequered plan. Flowers and vegetables alternate as the seasons go by, creating different patterns of colours.
The Ornamental Garden is divided into two areas called salons. The first one, called the Love Gardens, is formed of four squares of box hedges, each one representing a different kind of love. There is tender love and its hearts; passionate love and its broken hearts; flighty love with the very representative horns of love, where the colour yellow symbolises betrayed love; and finally tragic love represented by dagger blades and swords. Lyres and harps adorn the second salon, devoted to the theme of music.
Then you have the Water Garden, whose central Louis XV mirror-shaped pond brings a sense of calm and tranquillity. The Herb Garden contains medicinal and aromatic plants. And finally, the maze will entertain children and adults alike.
The last garden was created in 2008 to celebrate the centenary of Joachim Carvallo's ambitious project. This is the Sun Garden, located on the château's highest terrace. It consists of three chambers: the Children's Chamber with outdoor games, the Sun's Chamber with its pond shaped like an eight-pointed star, and the Clouds' Chamber with rose bushes and shrubs.
In the woods overlooking the gardens, a belvedere offers a viewpoint over the whole wonderful complex.