The Château d'Azay-le-Rideau is located in the town of Azay-le-Rideau in the French département of Indre-et-Loire.
It was built by a wealthy financier, Gilles Berthelot, during the reign of Francis I, between 1518-1527.
A subtle blend of French tradition and innovative Italian decor,
it is an icon of the new art of building in the Loire Valley in the 16th century.
Set on an island in the middle of the Indre, the château seems to rise straight out of the waters of the river,
which reflect the castle's façades so that the château appears to float in its own image.
The writer Balzac, who lived nearby and was occasionally a guest at the château, deeply admired the building,
describing it as 'a facetted diamond, set in the Indre'.
This striking setting has helped Azay-le-Rideau to become one of the most famous of the Loire's many châteaux.
Its successive owners have helped to make it the most architecturally harmonious treasure in the Loire Valley.
In 1905, the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau came under State ownership.