A facetted diamond
Described by Balzac over lunch one day as "a facetted diamond set in the Indre", Azay-le-Rideau is one of the most famous châteaux of the Loire. Relatively small, the two main wings are surrounded by the Indre and a landscape garden. The entrance to the château, in the form of a triumphal arch, is sculpted with the initials of Gilles Berthelot and his wife; The lower parts of the central staircase are decorated with the salamander and ermine, emblems of King François I and his wife Claude de France.
The English-style landscape garden was designed and planted in the 19th century. It was at this time that an ornamental lake was dug on the west side. It was not until 1959 that the State estabilised the flow of the Indre at the base of the south façade by creating a second ornamental lake.