Azay Le Rideau

The chateau of Azay Le Rideau, surrounded by trees and floating on a lake, has been likened to a wedding cake.
The chateau was originally a medieval fortress and was acquired by Gilles Berthelot via his wife.
Gilles Berthelot was the mayor of Tours and treasurer to the King, Francois Premier.
He built a new chateau on the ruins of the old fortifications. To keep favour with the King he had the king's emblem, the salamander engraved above the doors, unfortunately for him he was accused of embezzlement and had to flee and did not see his beautiful chateau completed.
The building of the new chateau started around 1518 and took fifteen years to complete.
The chateau was given by the King to Antoine Raffin who completed the chateau much as we see it today, except for a little work on the lake.
As with most of the chateaux in France, the furniture and fittings disappeared during the revolution and even today you can find very beautiful pieces of furniture or paintings in quite humble homes.
In the early 19th century the state bought the chateau for 200,000 old francs.
The town which nestles around the chateau is well worth spending time to explore, and the local white wine which bears the name of the town and made from the Chenin grape is also worth getting to know.

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