Practically every little girl (and quite a few little boys) dream of living in a fairy tale complete with castles, knights, princesses and the occasional dragon. The castles of the Loire Valley are the stuff of fairy tales. With their gleaming pale stone turrets and domineering position in the landscape, the castles in the Loire Valley France have been feeding the imagination for centuries. For example, Charles Perrault supposedly came up with the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty while a host at Château d’Ussé. Some of the more fantastical stories are actually from true life – such as for example the Queen of France being held captive at Château de Blois from which she made a daring escape and the Château De Valençay having an owner who conned the French government nearly into bankruptcy.
The fairy tale castles of the Loire Valley are an easy trip from Paris. You can easily book a Loire Valley castles tour so visiting them is highly recommended on any trip to Paris,
These beautiful castles of the Loire Valley make up part of the Loire Valley UNESCO World heritage site. The Chateau du Chambord was the original UNESCO world heritage site listing in 1981. In 2000, the UNESCO listing was extended to the entire Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes partly because of the social and political significance of the area, as embodied by these castles of the Loire Valley.
According to legend, Château d’Ussé is the inspiration for the castle behind the story of Sleeping Beauty written by Charles Perrault in 1697.
The Château d’Ussé has been the family home of the Duke of Blacas for the last couple of centuries. The Chateau Usse, however, dates back even further. Built as a fortress around 1000 AD, Château d’Ussé was gradually remodelled and enlarged until you have the romantic Renaissance castle you see today.
Château d’Ussé also has one of the most famous gardens in the Loire Valley which were designed by famed garden designer Le Notre, the head gardener of Louis XIV, the Sun King himself. Over 10,000 pansies are planted every year in the Chateau Usse gardens adding whimsy and color to the landscape.
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