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

 

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: 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

Clare & Greg
We just got back from a 2-week fairytale trip to the Southwest of France, perfectly planned for us by Emilie and Guillaume. We spent 3 days in Carcassonne, 4 days in the Dordogne, and 4 days in the Medoc. Each B&B was charming and the hosts were wonderfully welcoming. The special activities that were planned (truffle-hunting, wine-tasting and …
Kathy
We are preparing to do our second trip with Emilie to the Loire Valley, October 2018. Our first trip was to the region of Provence which was perfectly guided and gave us a most memorable experience. I highly recommend Emilie’s ability to put together a fabulous and memorable France just for you holiday.
Jeanie & David
We were planning a trip to the Ryder Cup and looking for other places to visit while in France. I happened upon the France Just for You website and started some planning with Emilie. She took over and gave us great plans for every day and great accomodations. All of her suggestions were perfect, actually too much for us to do each day. Her travel …

Our Travelers’ Photos

Mary-Ann & Ruth
From the US
Meeting Emilie in Normandy
Ron
From the US
Cycling in the Loire Valley vineyards
Ginette and Craig
from the US
In Chaumont castle, Loire Valley
Cynthia & Roger
from the US
Wine Tasting in the Loire Valley
Theresa & Bill
From the US
Between the vineyards & the lavenders in Provence
Sally & Mike
From the US
With their hosts in the Loire Valley
Frederick
from Canada
Enjoying some cheese
Sheena & Anna
From the US
In Provence
Phyllis, Gyu & the boys
from Korea
in Nice
Andy
from the US
Enjoying a drink on a brasserie terrace in Paris
Muriel & Michael
from the US
In Utah Beach, Normandy
Scott
From Australia
Making "chou" buns in the Loire Valley

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