Built in 1420 by Pierre de Beauvau, Grand Chamberlain of Charles VII, le Rivau is an astonishing château classified as an historic site. At once men of war and men of letters, Beauvau family members were close to the counts of Anjou and contracted a mid-15th-century alliance with the royal family. Starting in 1714, several owners succeeded one another, from the Marquis of Castellane, seigneur of Villandry, to the painter Pierre-Laurent Brenot and, since 1992, the  Laigneau family, which for twenty years has been engaged in an indispensable and exemplary restoration campaign.  Inside, valuable furniture, coffers, dressers and canopy beds are confronted by works of contemporary art by renowned artists conjuring up imagined château life. From Jeff Koons to Jan Fabre, 70 pieces offer artistic emotion and enchantment.

All in all, an atmosphere of grandeur and majesty emanates from the huge spaces of the château. Its different features contribute to this impression: the monumental Gothic stone fireplaces with their lime-coated walls, the sumptuous Brussels tapestries, the seats outside the mullioned windows… The Biblical episode entitled “Belshazzar’s Feast”, painted by a Dutch master during the Renaissance, decorates the grand banquet hall, while on the ceiling, a fresco produced by an Italian master recalls the four seasons of the vine.

The Château du Rivau at once bears witness to the heritage past and remains attuned to changing times.

Outside, it brings together history and botany in a whirlwind of marvels and fairy tales. The fourteen gardens, created starting in 1995 by Patricia Laigneau, explore the natural language of flowers with their colors, their fragrances and their graphic designs.

Each garden presents a color theme derived from its orientation. A profusion of botanical collections, including numerous ancient varieties, guarantees environmentally sustainable biodiversity and flowering throughout spring and summer.   Labeled “Conservatory of the Fragrant Rose”, the gardens present more than 450 varieties of roses and thousands of other plants, transforming the exterior of the monument into a botanical paradise; the rose collections suffuse the atmosphere with their diversified aromas.

Contemporary art is by no means absent from these atypical gardens; great artists have contributed to the metamorphosis of the exterior in a setting where the wonderment of legends and fairy tales coalesces with the ambient vegetation. Visitors will be delighted to lose their sense of proportion with the giant boots and watering can imagined by Lilian Bourgeat, while Gargantua’s vegetable patch is decorated with an amazing mole produced by Ghyslain Bertholon. From a walking forest to a horse-drawn merry-go-round, the Rivau gardens are transformed into an idyllic space where dream and reality intermingle. The Château du Rivau is a distinctly animated monument calling for discovery by families. Each year, special events are programmed.



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