Château de Chenonceau is a castle in the Loire Valley of France on the edge of the town called…. Chenonceau. It is classified as a “monument historique” by the French Ministry of Culture. The castle really is amazing because it is built over the river Cher. It almost spans the river’s entirety in fact. It is an architectural feat that combines both ingenuity and beauty.
Château de Chenonceau has a very dramatic history. The original manor was burnt down in 1411 and then rebuilt in 1513 by Charles XVIII, with the help of his wife Catherine Briconnet. In 1547, Francis I gave the castle to his mistress Diane de Poitiers who began developing the expansive gardens surrounding the castle. She also had a bridge to connect the castle with the other side of the river erected. By 1559, Catherine de’ Medici had ousted by Diane de Poitiers. She lived there until her death in 1589. The castle then passed to her daughter Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont. While living there, she learned of her husband King Henry III’s assassination. Following this, she apparently lost her mind and could be seen walking the corridors of the castle in dark clothing. The next notable owner was the mistress of King Henry IV, Gabrielle d’Estrées. This began a period where the castle frequently changed hands and lost much of its luster. The pinnacle of this was when the Duke of Burbon purchased it in 1720. This led to many of the statues and pieces of art being sold, some of them ending up at the Versailles Chateau. Finally the estate was sold to Claude Dupin. His wife, Madame Louise Dupin, brought the castle back to its former glory. She entertained many famous guests of The Enlightenment, including Voltaire. The castle changed hands several more times before ending up in the hands of the Mernier family in 1913. They still own the castle. Since then it has survived two world wars before finally being restored by the very talented Bernard Voisin.
The castle is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit. In fact, it is the second most visited castle in France. I have been there twice; each time has been simply magical. This picture was taken as I walked down the road leading to the castle from the gate surrounding the grounds. It really does have a lot of land surrounding it that is absolutely gorgeous. It looks like something out of a fairy tale. This particular view reminds me of something from The Lord of the Rings, perhaps were the elves live or something. Walking down this tree covered road transports you away from the world of today. For me, my imagination went wild as I saw all the different sites and explored the castle. I’m sure I’ll be sharing photos from this place again in the future. If you get the chance, I highly encourage you to visit Château de Chenonceau. I personally like it better than Versailles. It is beautiful and not as many people are there. You also don’t have to wait for hours in line to get in! It is a simply magical place to visit. It is beautiful today; I can’t imagine what it would have been like when at its peak!
Make it a GREAT day!