Like taken from a fairytale, Chenonceau castle has the particularity to be built above the water, forever watching it's stunning reflection into the tumultuous waters of the Cher river.
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 line French Demarcation line) - Chenonceau castle has a frantic history.
This 16th century chateau is surrounded by a 70 hectares garden and forest: the rose gardens and French gardens are famous worldwide.
This surprising and beautiful place is the fruit of the work of several women who have made Chenonceau’s history and who have brought a feminine touch to this magnificent chateau.
Catherine Briconnet was wife of Thomas Bohier who transformed the middle-ages 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 forces 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 save Chenonceau castle from destruction during the French Revolution. She turned Chenonceau into a meeting place for writers.
Madame Pelouze bought Chenonceau in a ruined state and undertook a total restoration in 1863. It's thanks to her that we can enjoy visiting Chenonceau today as it was in the Renaissance era.
Chenonceau is one of the most visited of the Châteaux de la Loire. For those who do not want to enter each and every chateau of the Loire, we will take you to a hidden outlook where you will have an exceptional view of the castle from the opposite side of the river.
We also have some suggestions on discovering Chenonceau from the Cher waters making great pictures!
Chenonceau castle is also famous for the flower arranging: 4 full time flower arrangers work there are compose beautiful art pieces with fresh flowers all year long...but it's during 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.