Chenonceau, a castle for the ladies

This is a fairy tale castle in the castle rich Loire Valley area of France. It is most known for its connection to the many woman who nourish it,and improve it over the years.  I go to the area often as purchase my goodies there and help the lion club international in the Touraine region.  To get there it is best by car as I always will tell you,  on the autoroute A10 exit/sortie Blois or Amboise,better) ,parking is free at castle. You can do so by train from Paris Montparnasse to Saint Pierre des Corps near Tours, and then from Tours train station to Chenonceaux by TER train, webpage http://www.ter-sncf.com/Regions/centre/Fr/Default.aspx. The station is just outside the castle walking distance.

Let me tell you a bit about this wonderful castle.

It is located in the village of Chenonceaux (the x story later) . You have castles here since the 12C, with a fortified windwill from 1230AD.  The Chateau de Chenonceau  goes thru many changes of hands and a legal battle to gain title to the property by heirs of  Thomas Bohier, he finally marries a one Catherine Briçonnet (the first lady of the story of the castle) , which does lots of work on the property until her death in 1526AD. Due to bad finances and no taxes paid, the king François I takes the property in 1535AD.  Later king Henri II gives it to his favorite lady Diane de Poitiers (see my other post on yvelines Anet) ,she ,also, does lots of work on the castle. After the death of Henri II in a duel in 1559AD, the crown finds a way again to take the property back, this time is Catherine de Medicis.

You have a continuation history of woman relating to the castle such as  Louise de Lorraine wife of king Henri III where the bedroom in the 2nd floor shows the on the door the deuil of her assassinated husband in 1589. She lived here until her death surrounded by religious sisters that took domicile at the castle, turning it into some form of convent after the death of Catherine. A room dedicated to the daughters and daughters in laws of Catherine de Medicis, the chambre des Cinq Reines  or bedroomof five queens (Marie Stuart, Marguerite de France  (queen Margot), Louise de Lorraine, Elizabeth of Austria, and Elizabeth of France).

A Claude Dupin buys the property in 1733 AD ,and his second wife , Louise Dupin, creates a heaven for conversation and enlightment so welcoming amongst others Voltaire, Fontenelle, Marivaux, Montesquieu, Buffon ,and Rousseau.  As indicated above , it is her Louise Dupin that is given credit for the different spelling of village and castle as village of  Chenonceaux and castle of Chenonceau, there is no proof to said otherwise  then her wish as owner of the castle during the FRench revolution  and great friends of the village people where she saves the chapel  to converted into a wooden depot to differentiate between the royalty whre the castle is a strong representation and the Republic.

Many owners follow suite, too numerous to name. Finally the property goes back to its original heirs in 1975 before passing by many famous painters visits like Gustave Flaubert. During WWI it serve as a military hospital and during WWII the castle makes mark into free France and occupied France, from which it escape with the chapel destroyed which later rebuilt.

From the bedroom of the ladies in the history of the castle to the room of king Louis XIV, to the gardens of Diane de Poitiers and those of Catherine de Medicis the place is just gorgeous and a must visit.

The Castle has a collection of murals of paintings from amongst others Murillo,Tintoret,Nicolas Poussin, Le Corrége, Rubens, Le Primatice, ” Les trois grâces” of Van Loo, and a nice group of tapestries of Flanders of the 16C.  After the gardens you can ,also, see the farm or ferme with buildings from the 16C, the laberinth ,italian style with 2000 trees. In the building of Dômes, you find wax museum with a historical presentation from the Renaissance to WWI paying tribute to all the woman who have reign on castles. There is a restaurant in the Orangerie of the highest French standards, a salon de thé, with self service,and snacks sandwiches is available every day from may to november. Reservation for the restaurant is at +33 02 47 23 91 97. There is children playgrounds, little boat rentals for kids, and a park of donkeys. At nights from june every fridays saturdays and sundays, then from July 1, to August 31 every day you will see a lighted promenade or walk ,the hours are 21h30 to 23h30 subject to change.

for staying lodging and restos there is a group but over the years we have stayed and/or eaten here ,Auberge du  Bon Laboureur, webpage  http://www.bonlaboureur.com/RestauFR.asp ; and the castle has a boutique shop inside for souvenirs.

the official webpage of the castle is at http://www.chenonceau.com/ , and tourism for the region of Touraine is at ttp://www.touraineloirevalley.com/

3 Comments to “Chenonceau, a castle for the ladies”

  1. Thats an all ’round incredibly written blog post!

  2. My favorite chateau in the Loire Valley and a “must see” each time I go there – beautiful!

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