On the banks of the River Loire, the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire is open all year round for visits to its château, its grounds and, from the end of April to mid-October, the not-to-be-missed Festival International des Jardins.
The château is an illustration of both the defensive architecture of the gothic era and the aesthetically pleasing architecture of the Renaissance. Its landscaped grounds planted with century-old cedars offer a spectacular, unique vista of the untamed Loire.
It was the property of Queen Catherine de Medicis, then her rival Diane of Poitiers, the mistress of King Henri II. The queen forced the mistress to exchange the château for that of Chenonceau. In the 18th and 19th centuries the château witnessed an intense period of intellectual ferment, when the Ray de Chaumont family hosted the sculptor Nini, Benjamin Franklin and woman of letters Germaine de Staël.
Domaine de Chaumont reached it apogee in the late 19th century thanks to the Prince and Princess de Broglie. With the help of the Maison Hermes, the couple designed sumptuous modernist stables, considered at the time as the most luxurious in Europe, and entrusted landscape architect Henri Duchêne with the task of creating an informal landscaped park.
International Garden Festival
Each year the Festival International des Jardins invites landscape artists from all over the world to dream up and create extraordinary gardens on a different theme each year. From April to October visitors can discover gardens, curious or fun, sometimes futuristic, sometimes offbeat. On certain summer evenings the ‘Jardins de Lumière’ offer a fairytale night-time visit.
Since 2007, the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire has belonged to the Loire Valley region. The Art and Nature Centre at the estate offers a bold schedule of cultural events and hosts installations by contemporary artists, along with exhibitions by famous photographers.