Chateau du Rivau  – One of the first chateaux in the Loire Valley

Giant boots in the gardens of the Chateau du Rivau
Giant boots in the gardens

Chateau du Rivau and its fairy-tale Gardens are located 10mns from the medieval town of Chinon in the direction of the city of Richelieu.

The Chateau du Rivau was one of the first castles in the Loire Valley.

Pierre de Beauvau, the grand chamberlain of King Charles VII indeed built in 1442.

The castle remained the property of the Beauvau for 247 years.

The Beauvau were related to the counts of Anjou and allied to the royal family by marriage.

Chateau du Rivau – war horses stables

Aerial view of the Chateau du Rivau
Aerial view

The Chateau du Rivau had a long tradition of breeding war horses.

We know that during the Hundred Years War Joan of Arc went to the castle in order to take steeds before the siege of Orléans.

Pierre de Beauveau was equerry to King François I during the French Renaissance. and his stables therefore became royal stables!

In 1550, his descendant Gabriel de Beauveau commissioned the replacement of the old wooden stables with the current building.

These L-shaped stables, located by the entrance to the castle, then housed thirty horses.

Chateau du Rivau, the archetype of a medieval castle

The Chateau du Rivau is a traditional medieval castle.

It indeed boasts many defense features such a moat, drawbridge in working order, a covered way and a keep.

Chateau du Rivau - Great hall
Chateau du Rivau – Great hall

However, the alterations conducted during the French Renaissance softened its severe Military architecture.

The Chateau du Rivau is therefore half fortress and half manor-house!

It changed hands a few times until the late 20th century, when it was purchased by a french family who fell in love with it.

They saw it as a true fairy-tale castle and decided to dedicated their life to make it come back to life.

They beautifully restored and redecorated the interior, which today boasts an amazing range of Renaissance and Gothic architectural features, decoration, paintings and furniture and a superb collection of Brussels tapestries.

The owners also produced a new sound staging that transport visitors back to the Middle Ages, among knights and tournaments, medieval banquets and squires, musicians and troubadours.

Chateau du Rivau – Fairytale botanical gardens

The Chateau du Rivau is also renowned for its 6ha gardens, which are whimsy and fun to visit!

The 14 splendid thematic gardens are original and each have a fairy-tale name.

You’ll also discover a wide range of botanical collections displayed in:

Parterres de Lavandes, le Potager de Gargantua, la Forêt Enchantée, le Chemin du Petit Poucet, Alice au Pays du Rivau, la Bordure Délice, la Cassinina, L’allée Parfumée, le Verger de Paradis, le Jardin des Philtres d ‘Amour, le Jardin Secret and le Jardin de la Princesse Raiponce!

The gardens of Chateau du Rivau are also renowned for their collections of irises and fragrant roses.

The latter, which boasts 450 varieties, was recently officially recognized by the Conservatory of Specialized Plant Collections.

These stunning and unusual gardens showcase also acclaimed collections of contemporary sculptures.

Their purpose is to generate interest in art and help visitors question their conception of art.

Visitors are surprised and amazed as they walk through the gardens in the company of peacocks and discover the various works of art or the extensive collections of plants.

Le Chateau du Rivau – A perfect day or half day trip for the whole family

Le Chateau du Rivau has a huge range of activities for children and families.

During the holidays, children can take part in fun workshops about Landart and learn about nature and contemporary art.

They can also learn calligraphy and sword fighting or discover what was the education of a young lord in the Middle Ages.

Families visiting outside the major holiday seasons can also organize birthday parties or rent medieval costumes.

An audio-guide is also available and caters especially for children and families.

Finally, they can then take a break in the castle’s restaurant, located in the centre of the kitchen garden, and enjoy home grown vegetable.

A lot to discover and enjoy in this fairy-tale castle and its gardens!

Department of Indre-et-Loire
Coordinates Chateau du Rivau: Lat 47.103155 – Long 0.323635

Credits: Photo gardens and source text courtesy of the Château du Rivau – Translated and edited by and for Travel France Online – Wikimedia Commons:  Rivau Castle hall  – Aerial view

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