Built from the 10th century onwards on the banks of the Loir, to defend Anjou against Norman and English invasions, and then converted into a holiday residence in the late 15th century by Jehan de Daillon, chamberlain of Louis XI, Le Lude Castle is now owned by the Count and Countess of Nicolaÿ. It is a remarkable reminder of the evolution of French architecture. Examples include its imposing medieval round towers surrounded by deep moats, its Renaissance façade, said to be Francis I, with a multitude of sculpted details, its court of honour with marble plaques, and its classical Louis XVI façade.
Open to visitors from early April to late September, the inside of the castle is richly decorated, with a number of attractions: the great library from the 19th century, a Louis XVI style oval drawing room, a cabinet of paintings by the Raphael school, a dining room adorned with Flanders tapestries, vaulted kitchens complete with copper utensils...
The house is surrounded by superb gardens, an ideal place to take a walk or enjoy a moment's reverie: the Spur Garden with its rose garden full of Chinese roses, the French-style garden along the Loir, designed by landscape gardener Édouard André, the Spring Garden with its rocaille decoration, full of perennials and scented shrubs, a botanical walk through the park and more.
Events for your diary: the Gardeners' Festival in the first weekend of June, and the Kitchen and Gourmet Garden Days in July and August.