The Loire Valley is renowned for its castles and châteaux. High on the list for Emily and Ben is a visit to Chenonceau.
This château is purely a pleasure palace and had no defensive purpose whatsoever. With galleries that cross the Cher River, this château is frequently the cover of French travel books, like the Michelin Green Guide.
The original château was torn down except for its keep in 1512.
The château soon passed into the hands of King Henri II who gave the château to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers (1557). Diane was an excellent manager of Chenonceau and added one of the two formal gardens as well as a bridge linking the château to the south side of the river.
|Diane de Poitier's garden|
Catherine added extensively to Chenonceau. A two story gallery (long open space over the river) was built atop the bridge to provide space for her elaborate entertaining. She added a park and numerous outbuildings.
|Catherine de Medici's garden|
Catherine bequeathed Chenonceau to her daughter-in-law, Louise de Lorraine. When her husband, Henry III died, she retired to Chenonceau and wore white mourning dress till her death. The châeau passed through several more royals before becoming the property, in 1733, of M. Dupin, the tax collector. Madame Dupin held salons with many of the literary folk of the day and became beloved by the townspeople. Because of her reputation, Chenonceau wasn’t damaged during the French Revolution.
Inside Chenonceau the rooms are decorated as Catherine would have lived. You see bedrooms, the chapel, the gallery, kitchens and hallways. Entry is through a central door with a hallway that goes from front to the gallery back. Two rooms opened off each side of the hall.
Some of the rooms were decorated in the style of Catherine de Medici.
|The 5 queens bedroom named after Catherine's daughters and daughters-in-law|
|Catherine de Medici's bedroom|
|The monogram of Catherine de Medici and Henri II carved in the fireplace mantel|
|The chapel is atop the pier on the right|
|This is a hand turned well that fills a water tank|
|then you can pour water into a copper pitcher|
|Another option for getting water|
|The bread oven|
|lots of copper pots are in the kitchen|
The gallery (the long corridor building over the river) is where all the parties were:
|Janis is ready to party in the gallery|
|Fireplace in the gallery|
|Can you find your way out Janis?|
|David and Janis in the allée of plane trees|