The lands where an ancient fortress once stood were known as Colombier until the 17th century. Acquired in the early 1500’s by Jean Le Breton, France’s Controller-General for War under King Francois I, a new château was constructed around the original 14th-century keep where King Philip II of France once met Richard I of England (“the Lionhearted”) to discuss peace.
The castle remained in the Le Breton family for more than two centuries until it was acquired by the Marquis de Castellane. During the French Revolution the property was confiscated and in the early 1800’s Emperor Napoleon acquired it for his brother Joseph Bonaparte.
In 1906, Dr. Joachim Carvallo purchased the property and poured an enormous amount of time, money and devotion into repairing the castle and creating what many consider to be the most beautiful gardens anywhere. Its famous Renaissance gardens include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, and vegetable gardens. The gardens are laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges. In 1934, Château de Villandry was designated a Monument historique. Like all the other castles of the Loire Valley, it is a World Heritage Site.
Still owned by the Carvallo family, the Château de Villandry is open to the public and is one of the most visited castles in France.