Situated in the Loir-et-Cher département, the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire has been a CCR since 2008, and runs a unique cultural project bringing together contemporary arts, heritage and landscape design.
THE HERITAGE SITE
During the 15th century the castle was owned by Catherine de Medici and then Diane de Poitiers. It has welcomed many famous people in the course of its history, including Nostradamus, the sculptor Nini, Benjamin Franklin and Germaine de Staël. At the end of the 19th century the Princesse de Broglie, the last private owner, oversaw a period of heightened activity and influence at the castle, and was responsible for the building of luxurious stables and the model farm. Purchased by the State in 1938, the castle remained a national monument until 2007, when it was acquired by the Région Centre-Val de Loire during the transfer of State heritage sites to regional authorities. Set in an exceptional landscape, the Domaine is today one of the most beautiful and well-furnished castles in the Loire region.
THE CULTURAL PROJECT
The cultural centre brings together the three elements of contemporary art, heritage and garden design. Each year, the Centre for Art and Nature invites internationally renowned artists and photographers to create new and original works on the theme of nature, to be exhibited in situ at the castle, the stables and farm buildings, or in natura within the estate’s grounds. The International Garden Festival showcases a unique panorama of landscape design from across the world. Since 1992, over 600 gardens have been created here, prototypes for the gardens of tomorrow. Dominating the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Loire Valley, the castle illustrates the defensive architecture of the Gothic period and the lighter style of the Renaissance, and houses a growing collection of rare artefacts and furniture.
As a Centre for Art and Nature, the programming of the site is dedicated to in situ installations and to photographic work on the theme of nature. Each year ten artists, some internationally recognised and some less well known, take over the castle, its farm and its park. This annual programming is complemented with the commissioning of works from major artists such as Sarkis, Jannis Kounnellis, Gabriel Orozco and Sheila Hicks. The ‘gardens’ aspect of the project comprises the International Festival of Gardens, the creation of permanent gardens and the maintenance and promotion of the historic park. The ‘heritage’ aspect is dedicated to the promotion, furnishing and layout of the castle. In each of these areas of activity, the Domaine runs educational and audience engagement activities, and also invests in improving the visitor experience. The Domaine is also a renowned centre for training in the design, organisation and maintenance of parks and gardens. The commercial aspect of the site comprises five restaurants and two shops.
AN INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION
Since its creation, the Domaine Régional de Chaumont-sur-Loire has seen an increase in both its visitor numbers and in its national and international reputation. Its triple identity has transformed it into a site dedicated to creation, imagination, poetry and nature. Its constant attention to improving facilities for visitors has resulted in the granting of several important accolades and awards, including in 2018 a Michelin ‘3 star’ rating. The International Garden Festival was crowned ‘Festival of the Year 2014’ by the North American Garden Tourism Conference.