My friends and longtime mutual followers over on Instagram at @hello_france contacted me recently to be part of an excursion to a beautiful French château. Since I’m not one to reject offers of excursions that involve photographing beautiful places across France I jumped at the chance to have a full-on Instagrammable day.
We set off from Gare Montparnasse early last Saturday only to be picked up by the owner of the Château du Rivau, Caroline, at the Saint-Pierre-des-Corps train station. Right away upon arrival, the group of Instagrammers were “set free” to go photograph the beautiful gardens. I immediately spotted fruit trees and several cherry blossom trees; all I could think of was how it must be incredibly beautiful in Spring time! The day had begun with rather ominous skies, but in the end the blue sky appeared and the shone down on us as we had a wonderful homemade and fresh lunch out in the garden, where they grow much of their own food. Local French wine accompanied a zucchini flower starter and salads garnished with pansies from the garden.
During a tour through the château and gardens by our hostess, we learned the history of the castle and all about the care the family has taken to refurbish it over the last few years (hint: it was extensive work and included a devastating fire). One thing I thought was especially great about this château is that you can stay overnight! Caroline was nice enough to show us the guest rooms they have, which include beautifully appointment suites with views over the gardens you see here and rolling hills. If you’ve been looking for a real château experience, including sleeping and dining at one, this is the perfect spot for you. The proprietors’ hospitality was exceptional, and given the moderate size of the château it won’t be overrun by other guests nor is it unbearably chilly inside, as you might expect from a castle!
For those who are spending several days in the Loire Valley, be sure to plan the rest of your route wisely. You can find further ideas for exploring the many châteaux du Val de Loire here.