A Fairytale, very Instagramable Castle

As if it had dropped straight out of a fairytale, Chenonceau castle has a particularly special feature. It was built across water, creating stunning reflections in the Cher river.

Chenonceau castle has a diverse and somewhat dramatic history. First a mill, then a Renaissance castle, a hospital during WWI, and a way to get to the free zone in WWII (as the Cher river was the French Demarcation line).

This 16th century chateau is surrounded by 70 hectares of garden and forest. The rose gardens and French gardens are famous worldwide.

chenonceau castle loire valley

Chenonceau : The Lady's castle

This surprising and beautiful place is the fruit of the work of several inspiring women who brought a feminine touch to this magnificent chateau. Their work is one of the reasons Chenonceau Castle receives around 800,000 visitors each year, making it one of France's most important tourist attractions.

  • Catherine Briconnet was wife of Thomas Bohier, who transformed the medieval mill into a Renaissance castle.
  • Diane de Poitiers, lifelong mistress of King Henri II added the formal gardens and the arched bridge.
  • Catherine de Medici changed the arched bridge into an Italian-style gallery (to host parties) and forced Diane de Poitiers to move to Chaumont sur Loire castle (also a magnificent place famous for its gardens).
  • Louise de Lorraine inherited Chenonceau in the late 16th century.
  • Madame Dupin, in the 18th century, saved Chenonceau castle from destruction during the French Revolution. She transformed Chenonceau into a writers' haven.
  • Madame Pelouze bought Chenonceau in a ruined state and supervised its total restoration in 1863. It is thanks to her that we can enjoy visiting Chenonceau today and experience it as it was in the Renaissance era. 

inside chenonceau castle

Chenonceau is one of the most visited of the Châteaux de la Loire and receives many thousands of visitors during the peak season. For a more peaceful and intimate experience, we know a hidden viewpoint, one of the secrets we share with all France Just For You travelers. It has an exceptional view of the castle from across the river.

We also have some suggestions on discovering Chenonceau from the River Cher, with some amazing photo opportunities!

Tip on the best way to experience Chenonceau

Chenonceau castle is also famous for its flower arrangements. There are four full-time flower arrangers at the castle, who create beautiful artistic floral arrangements from fresh flowers all year long. But it's at Christmas time that the flower arrangements are the most beautiful.

These are some pictures we took in Chenonceau castle on our last visit:  

For gourmet travelers, we will take you to one of the oldest distillery in the region - very near Chenonceau castle. See our Loire Valley Self-Drive itineraries

Our Travelers’ Reviews

Jenifer
When planning my 60th birthday celebration, my sister and I stumbled upon France Just For You, which saved us from the potential nightmare of traveling with 40 strangers on a bus. As a result, my sister and I, along with our husbands, experienced a trip of a lifetime! From the beginning, Emilie was extraordinarily responsive, informative, and more …
Roger
The planning and coordination of our holiday was quite awesome and far exceeded all of our expectations and indeed our imagination. The 300 odd page personalised guide book with maps, times and distances, restaurants on route and at our destinations, recommended places to visit on route and the accomodation itself and hosts at each location were …
David
It was the best tour ever! Laura did an amazing job to deliver painless and excellent planning and arrangements. Everything promised was delivered and included much more than would normally be seen without ‘INSIDR’ tips. It is obvious that Emilie and Laura have put a lot of thought and effort into the tours they offer. We definitely recommend …

Our Travelers’ Photos

Ginette and Craig
from the US
In Chaumont castle, Loire Valley
Amy
from the US
Enjoying a great view in Burgundy
Dina & Jim
from the US
Who just received their travel pack at home
Patricia, Brandon, Alyssa & Anika
from Canada
in a cellar in the Loire Valley
David
From the US
Celebrating his 80th birthday at a cooking class in Burgundy
Tonya & Robert
From the US
In Versailles - Hall of Mirrors
Naomi
From the US
In Villandry gardens in the Loire Valley
Ginette, Craig, Bev & Dan again
from the US
Having breakfast on their private terrace near Aix en Provence
Darlene & Howard
from the US
At Emilie's parents with Jeanne & Pauline (our daughters)
Rory & Mike
From the US
Enjoying a romantic moment
Scott & Linda
From Australia
In Mont Saint Michel
Deborah & Richard
from the US
On Omaha Beach, Normandy

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