The region of Touraine has been called the "garden of France" due to its mild climate and woodlands. It covers the département of Indre-et-Loire and some of Loir-et-Cher and Indre.
Maintenon (pop. 4,472), situated on the right bank of the Eure, has a handsome Château which Louis XIV acquired for Madame d'Aubigné, later the Marquise de Maintenon. In the park, which was designed by Le Nôtre, are the ruins of an unfinished aqueduct designed by Vauban to convey water to the gardens of Versailles.
Anet (pop. 2,400), in the valley of the Eure, is noted for the Renaissance Château of Diane de Poitiers. Building began in 1548, and the greatest artists of the day contributed to its decoration, including Benvenuto Cellini and the tapestry-weavers of Fontainebleau, who together represent the style of Henry II's reign. The goddess Diana is a constantly recurring decorative theme, referring to the châtelaine, Henry's mistress Diane de Poitiers (of whom there is no actual portrait).Little remains of the garden at this famous 16th century chateau.
Château de Montigny-le-Gannelon
Originally used as a fortified outpost where signal fires would be lit to signal alerts, Château de Montigny-le-Gannelon on the Loire has grown considerably from those younger days. After being torched by the garrison of Châteaudun so that Henry V would be unable to use it, the chateau remained in ruins until the latter half of the 15th C. It was then rebuilt to its current form.An interesting historical museum, featuring the major players in Montigny-la-Gannelon's history in portrait form, can be found amongst the 18th C. rooms.
Chateau, Talcy, France
This impressive chateau, originally constructed in 1420 was refurbished and modernized in the 18th C. Château de Talcy possesses an outstanding collection of period furniture, a dovecote, press house and a box garden. The most interesting architectural piece in the construction is the courtyard which is enhanced by the 16th C. gallery and well.
Club du Vieux Manoir, Argy, France
Completed in strictly Gothic style, this country house opens onto a vast inner courtyard. The galleries and great tower overlooking this courtyard are heavily embellished with monograms and heraldic symbols. Its most recent restoration was in 1966 under the direction of its current owners, the Club du Vieux Manoir.
Chateau Beauregard, Cellettes, France
Of particular note at the 16th C Chateau Beauregard is the paneling of the 'cabinet des grelots', decorated with small bells, and the central gallery which holds 327 historical portraits, walls and beams painted by the Mosniers and possessing a floor tiled entirely with Delft tiles.
Château de Chamerolles
Château de Chamerolles was restored by the Department de Le Loiret and features an elegantly pierced gallery as part of the 16th C. seigniorial residence, very similar to that found in Blois. A garden, also recently restored, stretches out from the back of the chateau.
Dreux (pop. 31,822), situated west of Paris in the valley of the Blaise, has half-timbered houses from the 15th and 16th centuries and a tall watch-tower. The old chapel of the royal house of Orléans is now occupied by the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire Marcel-Dessal.
Le Grand-Pressigny, France
Overlooking a small town, Château du Grand-Pressigny was an attractive residency for Honore III de Savoie in the early 16th C. The site was purchased by the Department and became a prehistoric museum. The museum features a collection from the Palaeolithic and Neolithic ages as well as an important fossil collection.
Abbaye, Bonneval, France
With its old houses and circuit of walls, this little town - Bonneval - southwest of Paris has preserved something of its medieval character. The church is 12th C. The former abbey (12th- 17th C.) is now a psychiatric hospital.
Château de Pontchevron
Château de Pontchevron one of the best examples of a late 19th C. mansion that has been based after a classical 18th C. model. Of particular note at this site is a Gallo-Roman mosaic that was discovered in 1962.
Château de Troussay
Château de Troussay is a 16th C. country house, home to an interesting collection of Renaissance objects collected from the surrounding region. A museum of folk art has been installed in the outbuildings.
Chateau de Fougeres-sur-Bievre, Fougeres-sur-Bievre, France
This château Fougères dates back to the middle ages and is built in a feudal style. The entrance curtain wall, the fat tower and the keep were all constructed toward 1475.
Chateau de La Bussiere, La Bussiere, France
Château de La Bussière is located next to an immense body of water. It has housed an interesting collection devoted to fish and fishing since 1969. The grounds have a family vegetable garden as well as an area edged with boxwood and perennials.
Arboretum des Barres, Nogent-sur-Vernisson, France
Arboretum des Barres features a wide assortment of trees and bushes spread across the 300ha of this treasure house of gardens. There are 8,000 specimens from 2,500 different species
Originally built in the 10th C, this fortress held a key strategic point where the Chateauroux road crossed the Cher. Of particular note are the monumental 17th C entrance and the collection of decorative arts displayed in the gatehouse.
Vouvray - Château de Jallanges
Chateau de Bouges, Bouges, France
Château de Bouges is an example of 18th C elegance with French gardens, a tropical greenhouse and an English garden.
Les Grandes Bruyeres, Fay-aux-Loges, France
Les Grandes Bruyères is especially rich in heathers, this garden and arboretum has a wide variety of plants in its collection.
Descartes - Maison Natale de Descartes
This annual festival takes place in mid-June.