Christmas in the Loire Valley Châteaux
December in the Loire Valley is a magical time of year, as the iconic châteaux dotted around the region are all lit up with incredible Christmas decorations and will host special events throughout the season. Below is a selection of some of the many châteaux to visit over the holidays this year:
Brilliant Christmas Trees at Château de Chambord
In France’s iconic château, guests can experience the crackling fires, ornate decor, massive decorated Christmas tree that stands tall through the famous double helix staircase, and hundreds of illuminated Christmas trees lining the gardens. New this year, Château de Chambord will host a “Brilliant Christmas Trees” exhibit and contest showcasing Christmas trees designed by well-known brands. Also this year, in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Renaissance, the château will be decked out in the colors of the Italian Renaissance. Kids at the château can also meet Santa Claus, and participate in an exhibition that retraces the life of Francois I by putting together a puzzle of his armor and practice drawing the King’s symbol, the salamander.
Antique toys at Château Royal d’Amboise
Childhood Dreams at Château Royal d’Amboise
This year’s theme at Château Royal d’Amboise will be centered around “Childhood Dreams,” as this was the château in which future Kings Charles VIII and Francois I spent their youths. This year, the château will feature displays of teddy bears of all types and sizes (from sparkling white bears to antiques), which will be set up in various rooms of the château to offer a whimsical look at child’s play. The display has been created in partnership with the “Les Petites Maries,” one of the last teddy bear manufacturers in France, who will also offer teddy bear making workshops.
Christmas decor at Château de Chenonceau
Fantastical Animals at
Château de Chenonceau
This year, in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the French Renaissance, Château de Chenonceau celebrates the “Grandes Découvertes,” a period that began in the early 15th century when goods, spices, plants, art and animals from Asia, Africa and the Americas were brought to Europe. Picturesque and floral depictions of this theme will be found throughout the château, showcasing imagery of fantastical animals like unicorns and Pegasus, as well as exotic fruits, the spice route and more.
Winter Gardens at Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire
For all garden lovers and enthusiasts, the Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire offers two Winter gardens in the greenhouse, where guests will be able to stroll between the fern forests, camphor trees, palm trees, cacti, papyrus and many other exotic plants. Guests can also explore the outdoor winter garden, brightened up by shrubs with vibrantly colored bark and evergreen leaves. Inside the Château, Christmas decor can be seen around the staircase, Grand Salon, Library, Dining Room and more.
Christmas at Château de Cheverny
Giant Sweets at Château de Cheverny
Christmas decorations will take over the gardens and each room of the Château de Cheverny, with lights illuminated on the façade of the château at night. This year’s theme is “sweets,” for which giant desserts will be on display, from macaron towers to gingerbread houses.
Celebrating Queens & Princesses at Château Royal de Blois
As the Château Royal de Blois was once home to seven Kings and ten Queens of France, this year, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the French Renaissance and the birth of Catherine de Medici, the château will pay tribute to the women who made history in this region of France. Among the decorated Christmas trees, the château will have on display bespoke costumes inspired by fairytale princesses, such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White. In the royal apartments, costumes from the Renaissance and nineteenth century will also be on display; created by historian and costume designer Nathalie Harran, the dresses were inspired by paintings of great rulers such as Catherine de Medici, Empress Eugenie and Queen Victoria. Even more, the château will host two exceptional evenings in honor of Catherine de Medici, featuring dancers, musicians, magicians and cuisine inspired by the Renaissance.
Beyond these châteaux, travelers can find even more incredible holiday decor and events around the region in and around the châteaux of Touraine, including the Chinon fortress, Azay-le-Rideau, Langeais, Villandry and Loches, as well as around Orleans at the Meung-sur-Loire and La Bussiére.
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