The Loire Valley has over 300 châteaux including some that are in excellent condition and still inhabited, to those that are ruins, but they are all interesting places to visit. The structures range in size and function; some were built as fortified fortresses, others were used as hunting lodges, and still more were built as posh vacation homes. Some of the most popular (and most crowded) include Chateau Royal d’Ambois, Chenonceau, Château D’Angers, and Chambord. It is possible to find some that are less crowded and equally enticing, if you’re like me, and want to avoid the crowds.
Chateau de Valmer is one such place; not too crowded and a little off the beaten path. The château was destroyed in a fire in the late 1940s, but the gardens are absolutely beautiful. It is a working vineyard and we enjoyed visiting the grounds, gardens and then a wine tasting.
There is a small chapel on the property that is located in a troglodyte cave.
During our wine tasting, the very delightful hostess told us the story of how the chateau burnt to the the ground in 1948. As the story goes, electricity at that time was available only for a few hours each day. The laundry maid, wanting to be efficient, left the iron plugged in so it was ready to use when the electricity came on. On a day when she was running errands, she missed the bus, and couldn’t get back in time to tend to the iron, resulting in the fire. Thankfully, no one was injured, although the grand dame of the château refused to leave since she was not properly dressed, and had to be carried out. The château was never rebuilt, but a hedge stands in the original location.
I highly recommend a visit to Château de Valmer, we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. In addition, there’s no admission fee to visit the grounds, and the wine tasting is free.
The lovely city of Blois is conveniently situated to many of the châteaux in the area and offers a wide variety of accommodations, restaurants, shops and a huge street market on Saturdays. Valmer is located about 30 minutes from Blois.
Wishing you grand adventures,