CHÂTEAU DE VILLANDRY, LOIRE VALLEY
This gorgeous country house, the last of the great châteaux of the Loire built during the Renaissance, is in fact situated on a tributary of the mighty Loire rather than the main river itself. It remains one of the most visited châteaux in France for the sumptuous and elegant building and interiors, restored to their past glory in the twentieth century by the Carvallo family. For the most part it is the splendid formal gardens (pictured) which attract most visitors. These are changed regularly, making the most of seasonal plants. The kitchen gardens here are so productive that visitors can actually buy vegetables in the gift shop to take home.