Saturday morning in Le Lude! The sun was shining and the sky was blue!

We were up early and ready to go out and explore! This day we had teamed up with the lovely Veronique from Vallée du Loir – and our first stop was Chateau du Lude

Bathed in sunlight and beauty… It was love at first sight!

So here is the thing… Like in many countries, most chateaux are left empty! But in the Vallée du Loir there are around 140 private, inhabited chateaux! They basically remind me more of beautiful country houses than cold, medieval fortresses. The most famous in the area is Chateau du Lude

Beyond its imposing appearance Chateau Le Lude is above all a place of soul…

What I love about this chateau is, that it is still inhabited by a family that has cared for it, and loved it, for 260 years! It stands as a valuable witness to four centuries of French architecture – first as a defensive fortress and over the years transforming into an elegant residence in the renaissance and classical period!

Welcome! (Will you look at those chandeliers!)

The library…

The Prix P.J. Redouté, literary award,

One of the reasons, why the good people of the Vallée du Loir love the chateau, is the Garden festival, “Fête des Jardiniers”, that has been held every year in june since 1994. It is dedicated to the art and practice of gardening!

A selection of the best French garden books

During the entire Garden Festival, visitors can enjoy gardening workshops and expert advice: pruning roses, fruit trees, lawn maintenance, grafting, taking cuttings or even gardening for children. At the end of the Festival the Prix P.J. Redouté literary award will be given to the best French garden book of the year

The great drawing room! This is the main reception room of the chateau!

I was quite fascinated by the large round table, which has ten drawers! Each of them is numbered and have a key. This card table allowed players to safely shut away their cards and coins, when they wanted to take a break during a game! Pretty clever!

No doubt that the master-piece of this room is the four-poster “polish” bed in Louis XVI style.

Did you know, that people didn’t lie down, when they where sleeping back in the good old days! They were actually afraid, that they would die lying down– which is why, many beds are very short! Can you imagine sitting up sleeping every night!!!

The music room decorated in Renaissance style with paneling enhanced with gold

I love the fact, that you can actually see, that there is a family living here with private photos and signs of life! What a wonderful gesture it is to invite us in and give us a taste of, what it is like to live in a chateau!

One can only dream about dining at such a fine table!

The great kitchen is situated in the oldest part of the chateau! During the 15th century, the kitchen was established and used until the 1940s, when a modern kitchen was installed upstairs

Every month from June to October there is a special event going on in the old kitchen! It is called “The Gourmet Days”. During these weekends, the jams are cooked on the old stove in copper pans. The visitors can taste the different flavours on crepes and buy jar to take home!

I was feeling right at home here! No noise, no crowds, no traffic! Just me and the calming surroundings

The lower gardens, which run along the riverbank, were originally a vegetable garden. This was moved further away to leave space for romantic French-style gardens designed by Edouard André, a renowned landscaper

The “Eperon garden”, designed in 1997 by Count Augustin d’Ursel, spreads out in front of the Louis XVI façade. The yew hedges map out the architecture of the fortress and enclose a maze and a rose garden

Clara was happy in the lovely weather wearing her “Louis XIV” styled bloomers!

A few last impressions…

 – and then it was time for lunch! We had a wonderful visit at Chateau du Lude!

The photos say it all. This is as French as it gets! Bienvenue au Restaurant la Renaissance!

We were very happy, that Veronique took us here, as the menu card was full of french delights! 

Yummy nibbles and a bottle of the local white wine, from the Jasnieres AOC

At first we had the pleasure of tasting, what was probably the best homemade pork-rillette, I have ever had!

Bonus-info: This area of France is famously known for pigs and pig related produce like rillette! We enjoyed a lot of rillette and foie gras, while we were here – and even though I love foie gras, the rillette really was stunning!

Speaking of…! Our starter was a beautifully presented dish with three different types of foie gras: peaches, chia seeds and pink curry. They all melted in my mouth – and I had to thank chef Dany Lenoir for making my day!

Being a carnivore – and a cheeselover, I obviously had to try the filet de boeuf with creamy camembert sauce… Can I just say, that I ate every bite! If only one could get the secret recipe of that sauce…

Frenchie had the roasted rabbit’s thigh, apple caramel with juice and small vegetables in a casserole. He was so happy finally enjoying a real, classic French dish, that he hadn’t had for a long time

Veronique went for a lighter main! This colourful beauty is the “Trilogie du marché: Three fish from the market, multicoloured quinoa, aniseed shellfish soup! Magnifique! 

To be honest, I couldn’t really eat anymore – until I met Mr Cheese-trolley! Suddenly there was extra room in my tummy! I mean, who dares to say no to French cheese! Not me! I was in my happy place!

The ingredients in Frenchie’s dessert made me very curious. It was a “Tartin de pommes caramelisées”: Apple caramelised goat cheese, glazed gingerbread scent! It tasted heavenly!  

Veronique’s iced cocoa soup with crunchy fresh fruits and Grand Marnier made me a bit jealous… Luckily she saw my jaw-dropping face and shared a few bites with me

I really love, how the French people enjoy a good lunch! No dry sandwiches here – and no rush! A big thank you to Cathy and Dany Lenoir at La Renaissance for spoiling us! (Oh… and for all you foodies out there! The restaurant also sell local produce to bring home! )

It was time to say goodbye to Le Lude and move on. We were very excited about the next adventure, which was a visit to The Apothicairerie de Baugé! This place is undoubtedly the best kept secret in the Baugeois! Let me tell you why, in the next blog post!

À bientôt!


We were guests of: