Chateau Villandry is tucked in the Loire Valley. The chateau is 14 kms from the city of Tours where you can take the Fil Bleu shuttle buses. Buses 117 and Buses 32 pass by the chateau before it stops at Villandry Centre. If you are from Paris, you can take the railway service from Paris Montparnasse to Tours. The fastest travel time is approximately an hour and 6 minutes and fares range from $40 to $91 (35€-78€) depending on the time you’re travelling and your seat choice. From Tours, you can take the shuttle bus or a taxi to the chateau. Other tourists prefer to drive. In that case, you can take advantage of a carpooling service offered by BlaBlaCar. If you go for the traditional rental car service, take the A85 and exit 8 to Villandry.Since 1920, the chateau has opened its gardens to the public for a very low fee. For adults, admission fees for the gardens are at 7 euros ($9) and 11 euros ($13) if you wish to include the chateau during your visit. The fees are lower for groups of 15 and young people from 8-18 years old. The prices drop even more from November to March during the winter season. The estate is also open every day for every season but opening and closing times depend on the month and certain dates. Make sure to check their official website to be aware of the operating hours as well as how late they allow you to buy tickets and explore the gardens.
To make most from your visit to the gardens, you can leisurely explore it by categorizing it into eight sections. The wood garden spans about three hectares of elevated walled area. This spot gives you a good view of the gardens below as you walk the canopy of its tall trees. The First Salon is the garden closest to the chateau. These are decorated with several love themes in mind, so you will see a contrast of colors among the four garden beds. On the south side of the estate is the Audience, a pavilion that once was important in the matters of the estate. The Water Garden contains an ornamental pond and a fountain. Meanwhile, the Sun Garden is famous for its geometric landscape that resembles the sun. This is the newest part of the garden that was completed in 2008. Like most Renaissance gardens, Villandry has a maze composed of hornbeam hedges. Another part of the gardens is the Second Salon that is designed to symbolize musical instruments. Another Renaissance element of the gardens is the Kitchen Garden and one of Villandry’s highlights. The garden beds have vegetables and various flowers planted according to specific geometric designs. The last two sections are the Herb Garden and the Village and the Church.
While the gardens are alluring in itself, take the time to walk to the chateau and explore both its interiors and exteriors. The chateau also gives you a great aerial view of the gardens below. The building preserves an important part of French heritage.