Less than 200 km south of Paris, nestling between the cities of Tours and Blois, is a haven of poetry. A natural oasis, a headland stretching out 40 metres above the wild Loire, Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire, owned by the Centre-Loire Valley Region, welcomes the public all year round to its château and park. Whatever the season, Chaumont-sur-Loire, once the home of Catherine de Medici, Diane de Poitiers and Princess de Broglie, beckons you indoors to admire its cosy and lavishly furnished interiors, which have been much enhanced in recent years.
Installations by an array of contemporary artists in the château and along the footpaths of the park will catch you by surprise, captivate and inspire you all year round. Come 2 April, 15 new artists will be taking over the Domaine, Park and its outbuildings: British artist Andy Goldsworthy with an altogether unique showpiece where the vegetation interacts with the stones of an unexpected “cairn”, Italian artist Giuseppe Penone, who has fashioned a new sculpture for the Domaine, Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, winner of the Golden Lion at the 2015 Venice Biennale, who has dreamt up a brand new showpiece for the Historical Park, and French artist Marc Couturier with his “skyquakes” in the Château and Farmyard. Don't miss the sculptures and charred wood paintings by Korean artist Lee Bae in the Stables, the porcelain fruit by Pauline Bazignan in the Donkey Stables, an extraordinary collection of works by Chinese sculptor Wang Keping in the Bee Barn and the "Infinite Link" by Moroccan sculptor Yamou in Goualoup Park. Photographers of the likes of Andy Goldsworthy, Jean-Baptiste Huynh and Luzia Simons, along with filmmakers Davide Quayola and Han Sungpil, will also be showcasing exhibits.
The International Garden Festival is set to open on 21 April and, after all its preparations behind the winter scenes, will have a whole host of surprises in store on the theme "Gardens of the Coming Century".
Come to Chaumont-sur-Loire then, and you are in for a stroll quite unlike any other, around 32 hectares of grounds and a château ideally located on the Loire banks – in all seasons. You'll spend a day unbounded by time…