A horticulturist’s wonderland, this tiny village not only borders one of the country’s finest gardens but is also surrounded by lush fields and leafy woodland.
Walk between delicate flower formations and skillfully sculpted hedgerows or escape to wide open countryside and follow paths leading along winding rivers when you visit beautiful Villandry.
Start your visit at the majestic Château de Villandry, which is located just minutes from the town center. Walk along the garden’s pebbled paths taking you on a tour of tropical floral arrangements and extravagant fountains. Smell the rich fragrance of citrus trees or find your way through the sprawling maze. Devote plenty of time to the main building that features fine wood furnishings and an impressive collection of Renaissance artwork.
Once you have enjoyed the château and its fine gardens, spend some time at the Church of St-Étienne in the heart of town. This dates back to the 11th or 12th century. Capture a photo of its short spire above fields of lavender.
Stop for lunch around the busy town square before you set off into the surrounding rural landscape. Alongside the Cher River to the north you’ll find an excellent hiking trail that meanders its way west. Follow this for a little while until you reach the point where the river meets the faster flow of the wider Loire. Sit on the bank and spot local birds and other wildlife before you begin the journey back.
Villandry is in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France. The regional capital of Tours is a 25-minute drive east and Paris is 3 hours north. Stay in one of the town’s guesthouses and enjoy typical French meals in a local restaurant. Businesses are busiest during the summer months.
Known for its spectacular gardens, natural beauty and tranquility, Villandry is a great spot for a family visit.