At the entrance of the Loir valley southwest of Paris, midway between Chartres and Blois, the Château de  Châteaudun stands imposingly before the visitor approaching from the north.  Once the property of Jean de Dunois, the « bastard of Orléans » and erstwhile companion of Joan of Arc, before becoming a congenial princely mansion it was an extensive fortress.

Overlooking the Loir at a height of more than 60 meters, the château of Châteaudun features signally authentic elements of medieval, Gothic and Renaissance architecture. Seemingly suspended on its rocky promontory, the 12th-century “big tower” is one of France’s tallest and best conserved keeps.

In the 15th century, the aforementioned Jean de Dunois undertook work designed to transform the Château de Châteaudun, of which some of the fortifications were demolished. He converted the ancient medieval castle into a well-lit and comfortable residence, and added a Holy Chapel. During the following century his descendants, the lords of Longueville, completed construction of the chapel and enlarged the castle with the Longueville wing.  Today, the Dunois wing and the Longueville wing include two sumptuous loggia staircases, one with flamboyant decorations and the other harking back to the Renaissance. The château also houses a remarkable collection of 16th and 17th-century French and Flemish tapestries.

The visit culminates with discovery of a medievally inspired garden exploring the interrelations between cuisine and medicine in the Middle Ages, while a hanging garden unveils a haven of rest and relaxation, one of a kind in the Centre region.



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