I’ll quickly paraphrase Balzac because I find his formulation very accurate: Azay-le-Rideau is a “multi-cut/faceted diamond crimped by the Indre river”.
Azay is a true Renaissance gem, its finesse makes it look like a little ornament floating on the water.
The fact that it is built on one of the Indre’s little islands makes it less of a defensive castle and more of an invitation to wander and marvel.
One can easily sense the Italian architectural influences, especially when studying the stairs, which feature strait railing – a novelty at the time – and loggias/lodges that distinguish themselves from the other windows.
The Italian influence also appears in the choice of decorations, which are opulent, rich and unique. I believe there are enough canopy beds to accommodate Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and all their friends.
Everything here reminds me of fairy tales: the little towers, the high roofs, the machicolations, the water. The setting is dreamlike and Azay is, without any doubt, my favourite castle.