Le Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, floating on its mirror pool.Personally I think Azay-le-Rideau is one of the most beautiful of the Loire renaissance châteaux. It has lots of highly satisfactory decorative twiddly bits and sits on its island in the river as if it is floating on the water. Although the smallest of the châteaux on the main Loire tourist axis it abounds in photo opportunities. It's a nice one to visit if you only want to spend an hour looking at châteaux, but equally, there are many fascinating objects inside and you can easily stretch the visit to two hours to see everything. Being a Centre des Monuments Nationaux site it has an excellent bookshop. It's not far from Villandry and many people combine the two for a day of châteaux visiting.
I'm not sure if the carved initial is 'R' for Raffin or 'B' for Biencourt.The local townsfolk obviously feel that they are a bit neglected in the châteaux visitor stakes. Sandrine, who runs the Coté Cour restaurant just outside the château gates, asked me when she would next see us. I responded that our upcoming clients were visiting Chenonceau and Cheverny, so I wasn't sure. She sighed, shrugged and said 'ah, les grands...'
The distorted glass gives the view a mysterious and magical look.Susan