Last year my friend and I had planned to visit Valmer on the day of our arrival. We never made it though, as we were rather tired after getting up at half past four in the morning and driving over 500 km to get to Amboise. After having lunch at the Val Joli in Vouvray, we drove straight up to our chambre d’hôtes where we spent a leisurely afternoon by the pool watching the air show over Tours.
The castle of Valmer – or what’s left of it - is situated on a bluff overlooking the valley of the Brenne. It was built in the 16th and 17th century and sits in an 80ha park with beautiful Renaissance gardens. These gardens and a 16th century troglodyte chapel are the main attractions of the Château, which was largely destroyed by fire in 1948.
Since 1888 Valmer belongs to the Saint Venant family. The Duke is a keen winegrower and the wines of Valmer rank amongst some of the best Vouvray wines. The Duchess takes pride and joy in the gardens, which are exceptionally beautiful and moreover produce over a thousand varieties of vegetables, the seeds of which are carefully stocked and even frozen for later use.
So you see; there is a lot going on at Valmer, even if there is no longer a sumptuous castle to visit. I therefore really would like to go there during this year's trip. I suppose it won’t be too difficult to convince my friends to spend Sunday afternoon – weather permitting of course - at Valmer before checking in at our chambre d’hôtes. Sunday being the only day of the week that the castle is open to the public in the month of May.
If Valmer is one of the hypothetical 1,001 châteaux, I would like to know some of the lesser known remaining 1,000! On this year's to-see-list I already have: Beauregard, Villesavin, Troussay, Fougères … Maybe you know of some more ‘forgotten’ châteaux within a maximum range of 75 km from Tours? Your suggestions are more than welcome!