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Château d'Azay-Le-Rideau, Azay-le-Rideau

Rue de Pineau
France 37190
Tel: 33 2 47 45 42 04's insider take:

The exquisite exterior—pure, turreted Renaissance—is one of the loveliest in the region. Built between 1518 and 1527 by financier Gilles Berthelot and then almost immediately confiscated by King François I, the château seems to rise out of the Indre River, a tributary of the Loire. The interiors are furnished according to different periods—look for the portraits of the assorted Valois kings who stayed here and some impressive French and Flemish tapestries from the 16th and 17th centuries. But if you've done enough traipsing around echoing château rooms, then come at night (May through September), when the facades and grounds are spectacularly lit, making the visit particularly magical.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.