Chateau du Rivau: Perfect for Kids
Upon leaving Nantes, our France Passion trip took us through the Loire Valley. We opened our books and found a lovely looking vineyard in a small French town and set our sights on a stopover.
Chateau D’Epire was another amazing little find. This vineyard has been in the family for six generations. We popped in to the office to ask where to park and inquire about tasting some wines and met Luc, the winegrower who lives with his family in the L’Orangerie on the estate.
The boys made themselves comfortable on the floor of the winery doing some coloring while Jeff and I enjoyed an incredible wine tasting.
Luc showed us a map of the region and explained all about the vineyard. We tasted and bought a bunch of delicious wine. You don’t have to be staying to tastes the wines. You can also take a self-guided tour of the estate and vineyards. Most interestingly, due to the water table, there are no caves or cellers to store the wine. Instead the family purchased the old church, removed all the pews, sealed up the windows and ages the wine in there instead.
Luc gave us the map for the tour and encouraged us to walk around and check everything out. The boys grabbed their buckets from the RV in case they came across any treasures and off we went to explore the town of Savennieres.
The town is small, so it doesn’t take you long to reach the outskirts and be among the vines. I was in love with the wisteria covered walls that lined the town.
The kids love exploring and being silly and it was such a great way to see this little town.
Jeff and I had visited the more popular Chateau’s in Loire Valley before we had kids. We wanted something smaller and more fun for the kids. Chateau du Rivau was a perfect fit. Although you can go inside the Chateau, the main focus is the gardens. We had the most perfect weather for exploring.
The castle was an instant hit with the big boys. The tower that extends into the dry moat has Rapunzel-like hair coming from the window, which was endlessly entertaining to the boys.
Peacocks roam the garden adding to its enchantment. This Peacock Mirror (yep, its actually called that) was used to entertain and attract the peacocks to the garden. The peacocks also flew into the trees and called to each other for the length of our visit.
The garden is full of whimsical art. The kids loved finding these little animals made of pots.
The tree people were also a huge hit, although my Middle Little was quite wary of them.
My favorite art piece though were the large Wellington Boots set in the middle of the castle’s lawn.
There were endless amusements for the kids here as well. The playground was shaded and had a bench, perfect for a nursing mom like myself.
There is an excellent hedge maze. The boys have almost come to expect that every castle we visit will have one of these. This one had multiple entrances and center points.
An adjacent tower allowed you to climb and view the maze from the top. I watched the boys run around for quite a while chasing each other through the maze.
A visit to the castle meant heading over the drawbridge. This particular drawbridge had separate sections for the small door and the main gate.
The stable area was full of fun as well. Inside there was a movie about the horse raising history of the Chateau. The films are subtitled in English. The first room’s film is very informational. The second room focused on myths and legends about horses and scared the kids a bit.
The Chateau seems to host lots of weekend activities, so if you’re in the area check to see what is going on. There is also a cafe, but we played in the garden so long that by the time we made our way back, it was closed for the day. Chateau du Rivau has audio tours and booklets you can do with the kids, but we knew the garden would be enough for ours. This is a perfect half day stop for the whole family.
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