A romantic destination, but also one for families, Valençay in the north of the Indre is the furthest south of all the Châteaux de la Loire and has a fascinating history. It was the country home of Talleyrand, Napoleon’s Foreign Minister, when it was a centre for French diplomacy and for fine living.
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Château de Valençay and its surrounding area, a centre for high society and fine living
Important receptions were held there for the high society of the period when Talleyrand could rely on his ""chef de bouche"" Antonin Carême, who we must thank profusely for inventing the croquembouche and profiteroles !
The Château de Valençay estate covers 53 hectares of grounds and gardens, an enchanting setting for concerts, theatrical performances and cookery demonstrations by great chefs.
The Pays de Valençay area is unique in France as it has a double AOC (PDO) distinction for its wine and cheese which both have the same name ! As you drove along the local country roads, stop off at a Valençay wine-producer or cheese-producer to taste their products, particularly in the delightful floral villages of Lye and Veuil. Valençay and Beauval are a stylish dual-destination for a holiday with family, friends or partner !
The Château de Valençay and its 53 hectares of grounds
The interior of the château has period furniture, some of which belonged to Talleyrand. Visits can be with a guide or self-guided with free audio-guides for adults and children (2 versions are available : ages 4-6 years and ages 7-12). The gardens can be explored on foot or aboard an electric cart along a 4km trail. Visitors arrive in the gardens « à la Française », then move on to the main courtyard which overlooks the terraced Jardin de la Duchesse.
The Jardin d’Antonin is by the deer park and has over 300 species of culinary herbs. Children can have great fun here with a scent guessing game, on a treasure hunt in the nearby maze, one of the largest in France, and at the petting farm. There is also a Motor Museum (Musée de l’Automobile) just a stone’s throw from the Château.