Christmas in France, in the land of châteaux!
Christmas in France! In Amboise, Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Chinon, Langeais, Loches, Villandry… From Saturday, the 4th of December to Sunday, the 2nd of January, seven of the greatest Loire Valley châteaux get into the festive spirit with exceptional tours and events: it’s “Christmas in the land of châteaux” in Touraine.
This event involves a tour of seven of the most famous Loire Valley châteaux with key iconic Christmas themes that put a sparkle in the eyes of children and grown-ups everywhere.
These programs can be seen every day even during the school period.
Imagine a giant Christmas tree covered in more than 2,300 decorations, sugar sculptures with multi-coloured sweets, dozens of candles and braziers creating an interplay of light and shadow, a huge Neapolitan Nativity scene full of little scenes and characters, a maze of Christmas trees in ultra-contemporary shapes… From the beginning of December until the beginning of January, each château creates its own world and after one, two or three visits, you soon feel like you’re ‘collecting’ them*, one discovery leading you irresistibly to another.
As we celebrate this year, the 5th anniversary of “Christmas in the land of chateaux”, we have the pleasure to inform you that the chateaux will be exceptionally opened one unique evening until 8:00 pm for a night time Christmas visit.
- Château of Chenonceau : Saturday 18 and Wednesday 22 December (until 8pm);
- Château of Azay-le-Rideau : Tuesday 21 December (until 8pm);
- Royal Fortress of Chinon : Thursday 23 December (until 9pm);
- Royal Château of Amboise : Monday 27 December (until 8pm);
- Château of Villandry : Tuesday 28 December (until 8pm);
- Royal City of Loches : Wednesday 29 December (until 9pm);
- Château of Langeais : Thursday 30 December (until 8pm).
*If ever you wish to discover several of our chateaux during your Christmas holidays, a discount card is available in the tourist offices of Touraine at the price of 4€. You will then benefit of reduced rates in each château as well a 10% discount in the tourist office gift shops (except for ticket sale).
Crafty Christmas trees, sweets and a giant nativity scene…
Royal Château of Amboise: Christmas, “dreams from childhood – Kings snowy dreams”. Inside the château, the rooms are all white. This is the colour traditionally used by the royal family, symbolizing purity and the divine. It also reminds us of the immaculate winter snowy sceneries we cherished so much when we were children…and when the kings of France lived in Amboise. Imagine the snowballs battles, the young royal princes running in the forest covered with sparkling snowflakes… Come and share their snowy dreams!
Come and discover this new display, work of the young artist Coline de Preissac!
Château d’Azay-le-Rideau: “Festive paper decorations: foodie dreams”. As you tour the rooms of this precious Renaissance chateau, you will be amazed by the beautifully arranged Christmas decors and feel their delicate and warm atmosphere. Véronique Chauvet, an artist and a chef, imagined and created a world of “papier maché” delicacies you will discover in every room of the chateau. Her original culinary creations are displayed with the rich and refined Christmas decoration of a traditional French chateau.
Château de Chenonceau: Royal Paradise. Some poets and writers said that Chenonceau was set in a gentle and idyllic scenery. It has also been the favourite and dream-like residence of Queens. Especially for this festive season, the words royal and paradise have been employed to express the Christmas atmosphere made of golden and white floral arrangement, snowy Christmas trees and sumptuous bunches of flowers…. Every arrangement is created by the floral workshop team, led by its designer, recognised as “Meilleur ouvrier de France”. The oldest as well as the youngest will remember for a long time the magic of this sweet Christmas in Chenonceau. Reservation required.
Royal Fortress of Chinon: Christmas myths and legends. This year, visitors will be taken to the magic of the Christmas myths and legends. Thanks to a contemporary and playful exhibition, they will discover the origins of legendary characters such as Santa Claus, Bogeyman and… the mythical Father Christmas. Who is going to visit home at Christmas Eve? Saint-Nicolas or Bogeyman? Visitors will have to choose !
Entertainment: readings of tales for children and guided tours of the exhibition by reservation.
Château de Langeais: Christmas festive lights. Light, which is part of the festive season, used to be a privilege for well-off people. During the festive season and for “Christmas in the land of chateaux”, visitors will discover, inside the chateau, the magic of Christmas in France through all sorts of light arrangements. Candles and lights will be arranged together and be used to highlight the sumptuous decors of the rooms: dreamlike undergrowth, banquet table with pheasants and peacocks ornate with their feathers, precious gowns ready to be dressed, glittering and colorful medieval shoes by the fireplace… During their tour, visitors will discover other surprises in a cheery and refined atmosphere full of festive lights.
Entertainment (Call 02 47 96 72 60 for reservation):
- Calligraphy workshop: discover the secrets of calligraphy and create your own Greetings card! From the 21st to the 30th of December, from Tuesday to Thursday, between 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm (duration around 45 min / children over 7).
- Live a medieval tale. This lively story, full of magic and tenderness will take the youngest as well as the oldest into a medieval imaginary world! From the 26th to the 28th of December at 11:30 am, 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm Duration: 50 minutes (by appointment, children from 4 to 8).
The winter tales of the Royal city of Loches: Peter and the wolf. The Royal City of Loches is a major historical place with a keep of more than a thousand years old and a royal residence where visitors, during the festive season, are invited to rediscover classic tales, which have contributed to our present day image of Christmas. This year, adults and children alike will become immersed in the musical world of “Peter and the Wolf” from Prokofiev.
Entertainment: PUBLIC READING. For a total discovery of the tale “Peter and the wolf” and its world, children – with their parents! – are invited to listen to the reading of the text, in a comfortable room in the chateau. December Sundays 5th and 12th 2021 and every day from the 19th of December 2021 to the 2nd of January 2022 at 11:00 am and/or 2:30 pm
Chateau of Villandry: “The chateau opens its door to nature”. Visitors will be invited to spend Christmas at the chateau of Villandry, a family home, in a friendly and cozy atmosphere. As you tour the rooms and discover the beautiful festive arrangements, you will see how the chateau opens its door to nature. In each room: living room, kitchen, bedrooms, everyone is busy getting ready for Christmas Eve. Nature can be seen everywhere! As you go upstairs to the attic, you will be amazed to discover an incredible enchanted forest! Admire its trees and bushes as well as the forest animals and birds… a real fairy tale. You will also have the pleasure of admiring the wintery gardens from the windows: the kitchen garden with its winter vegetables, the mosaics of box wood edges and the yew topiary silhouettes. You will feel like walking in the gardens and the alleys bordered with bare lime trees.
Even more Christmas festivities
Along with the 7 châteaux, many other events take place during the festive season:
- “A wicker Christmas” in the village of Villaines-les-Rochers (village dedicated to the tradition of wickerwork),
- in Amboise “the orange trees Christmas” at Château Gaillard and the “Christmas enchantment” at the Clos Lucé
- “Santa’s village” at the fortress of Montbazon
Special packages for groups or individuals
Tours-Val de Loire tourist office developed special “Christmas in the land of châteaux” stays for individual customers and for groups.
Contact: Simone Daumas, Tours Loire Valley Tourist Information – Incoming department. Tel: (00 33) (0)2 47 70 37 34 – email@example.com
And while you’re there, why not do a bit of shopping?
Whites, rosés or reds, Touraine wines go superbly well with your festive meals so remember to take back a few bottles with you. Terrines made from the wild fish of the Loire are sensational on toasted bread, as is the local foie gras. You can also root out a few black truffles, a festive ingredient for sure, or delicious saffron.
Try the traditional and local Christmas log: “la Tourangelle” made of a light almond and walnut biscuit, with on top, its vanilla cream and caramelised apples…Yum, yum!
In the basket weaving village of Villaines-les-Rochers, local craftsmen create original wickerwork tree decorations which will hang effortlessly alongside the handcrafted glass baubles from the Maison Verart, in Amboise.