Light show at Loire chateaux

Hi everyone, My husband and I will be in the Loire Valley in June and had hoped to see a light show at Azay-le-Rideau. Rick's book says that they are nightly in July and August, and the website is a bit confusing but seems to say that they are Saturday and Sunday in June and September at 9:30 p.m. Has anyone been there in June and done the light show at that time? Thank you,
Tara

Posted by Jon
Portland, Oregon, USA
320 posts

Tara: I have been to the light show at Azay Le-Rideau. I am not sure what you are expecting from the light show - there is a voice over element to the show - in French (of course). It was interesting but it was not a highlight of our time in chateaux country. As to the start times I suggest that you email the contact link on the website for clarification. BTW - While in the area you might visit Cheverny - a lovely estate - time your visit to see the daily feeding on the hunting dogs - what a spectacle! Have fun.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
673 posts

I think Jon's point may be that if you've been to a big-name arena rock show, a son-et-lumiere may be a bit disappointing. I believe that Azay- was a pioneer in the invention of architectural sound and light; There's a charming plaque in memory of the original artistic director on the restaurant building. From the equipment we saw at Azay in 2012 (didn't go to the show) it looked to be at the level of a university-town music pub, not even the opening act of an arena show! (Azay is a pleasant town, and we managed to park in the town lot.) But as you imply, it's very important to schedule your nights in the Loire if you want to do certain things. We had hoped to see a chateau (exterior) by hundreds of candles (in sand paper bags, I think - and just general musical accompaniment) but it never matched up with our hotel schedule. Make sure you're seeing the 2013 web pages, too. Our main interest was gardens. Everyone has their own priorities. There are several other son-et-lumiere opportunities besides Azay-le-Rideau, I think. And there are lots of choices, even just in the western end of the Chateau belt. We didn't have time to enter the castle in Chinon, but despite its decrepitude, it looked to have a nice feel of the weight of history. (Also drive by the annoying nuclear power plant, where Homére Simpson works.)

Posted by Tara
Sarasota
142 posts

Thanks for the insight. I'm not really a rock concert kinda girl and the only outdoor light experiences I've been to were at Stone Mountain in Georgia and then the Eiffel Tower's lovely light twinkling at night in Paris. We've been to the Loire before and I much prefer the outside grounds to the inside stuffiness. We thought it would be nice to sit on a blanket and watch the chateau be flooded with different color lights. I guess I'll just prepare to be underwhelmed. :-)

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

Not sure why you are confused. French schools don't let out until late June, so it's not surprising that the light shows are only on the weekends in June.

Posted by Tara
Sarasota
142 posts

I'm sorry, I didn't know that. Thank you for telling me. I would not have thought to consider the French educational system as it relates to the light shows in the Loire Valley. Something to remember! My question was just actually if anyone had been in June and if there really were light shows on the weekend because (1) the website is confusing, and (2) Rick's book seems to indicate they are only in July and August. If there is someone who could address that specifically, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

I went to the Fr language sites:
Val de Loire tourism says nightly July 11 to August 24th. There was no mention of June and September. I couldn't find any other site with 2013 sound and light info. If you have a site that mentions June and Sept., I'd be glad to look at it for you. Just send the link in a private message.

Posted by Tara
Sarasota
142 posts

The website at http://www.loirevalleyexperiences.com/LBazay.htm states: Should you wish to stay on to view the elaborate son-et-lumière (sound and light) show, which is one of the best in the region , it takes place ,July daily at 10.30pm; Aug daily at 10pm; and Sat & Sun mid-May to June & Sept at 9.30pm. Maybe it's from a previous year. I have found a few of the websites on Loire Valley activities to be dated.

Posted by Bets
Bloomington
1970 posts

It's a vacation home or cottage rental website that seems to be in the UK. It's not sure that it's up-to-date. I could find info on only the one French language site, a government-run tourism site, as I mentioned before. If you want to know for sure before you get there, you might have to call the Chateau. Sorry I couldn't help you more.