In memory of the visit he made to chateau Chenonceau onth july , Louis XIV, many years later, offered his uncle Duke of Vendome, his portrait by Rigaud - in an extraordinary frame by Lepautre, composed simply of four enormous pieces of wood.
On the renaissance fireplace, the Salamander and the Stoat bring back the memory of François I and Queen Claude of France.
The hall is covered with a series of rib vaults where the keys, detached from one another, form a broken line. made in 1515, this is one of the most remarkable examples of decorative sculpture frpm french renaissance period.
This is a magnificent ball room, in 1576, using the drawings made by Philibert de l'Orme, Chaterine de' Medici built the gallery upon Diane de Poitier's bridge. measuring 60m length, 6m width and 18 windows.
This was the bedroom of King Henri II's favourite lady, Diane Poitier, to whome he donated Chenonceau. In 1559, on the death of Henri II, killed in simple combat, his widow, the queen, had the chateau of Chenonceau given back to her by Diane in exchange for Chaumont-sur-Loire.
To built the chateau of Chenonceau on the river Cher in the 16th century, Thomas Bohier and his wife Katherine Briçonnet demolished the fortified castle and mill belonging to the Marques family and left standing just to keep : the Marques Tower, which they restored in Renaissance style.
The Diane de Poitier's garden just on left from the castle. This garden which consist of eight triangular lawns (12.000 m2), decorated with delicate volutes of santolina, has its entrance overlooked by the house of the chancellerie.
Chaterine de Medici's Garden just infront of the Diane de Poitier's garden. offering the perfect image of refinement.
We can found this maze garden on left before arrive in the castle. This maze located in the 70 hectare grounds, the Italian maze, as desire by Catherine de Medici, is planted with 2000 yews covering more than one hectare.
The Marques tower (unique heritage from the previous medieval fortress) was restored in Renaissance style.
The château itself is wonderful and elegant, outside and inside.
Photo 1: the Château from Catherine de Medicis's garden (where is the river?)
Photo 2: The Marques tower
Photo 3: the Château from the Cher river
If you want to understand more about Chenonceau's evolution, a 3D animation is available on the web site (link below)
Inside Chenonceau, we really enjoy the following rooms:
- The guard's room (now the main reception office and the start point of the visit)
- The chapel
- Diane de Poitier's bedroom
- The gallery (built by C.De Medicis, 60x6m, 18 windows)
- The hall and the kitchens (oh, the kitchen is amazing, may-be due to the women influence ?? :) )
- King's and Queen's rooms (François I and Louis XIV, the five queen's bedroom)
- The suprizing Louise de Lorraine's bedroom (where she retired after the assassination of her husband King Henri III), with its religious influence and mournful atmosphere.
Don't forget too have more than a look on the great Masters paints and on the tapestries.
Remember: No flash
A great walk into the past.
In the dôme's Building, the wax museum shows women who built Chenonceau:
and an historic tour from the Renaissance to World War I: 1518 - 1918 thourgh the collection of costumes.
The Wax Museum is open all year.
The wax museum is not free, a specific pass is required (ask before, while you are in the ticket office). NO FLASH too
“Quit the Court instantly; give up the crown jewels, give up Chenonceau in Touraine.”
— Catherine de’Medici (1519-1589)
BY ORDER OF THE QUEEN In 1559, following the death of her husband, Henri II, Catherine de’Medici issued the above order to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. The king had given Château de Chenonceau to Diane in 1547, where she had Henri’s ‘H’ and Catherine’s ‘C’ painted and chiseled throughout the castle in such a way that the reversed ‘C’ could be read as a ‘D.’ What a clever little vixen she was!
To compensate for this and other insults, Catherine wanted Château de Chenonceau, an exquisite jewel of a castle, where she added a gallery above the bridge that Diane had built across the River Cher.
The ‘H’ + ‘C’ + ‘D’ combination can be seen throughout the castle: on the ceiling (see photo #1), above a fireplace (see photo #2) in Diane de Poitiers former bedroom, and above a door (see photo #3), leading to the Gallery.
Henri II was an avid participant in jousting tournaments. On 30.June.1559 Henri was fatally injured in a tournament in Place Royale, now Place des Vosges, in Paris. The king was celebrating the Peace Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis and the wedding by proxy of his daughter Elizabeth of Valois to Philip II of Spain. For the long celebration, Henri had arranged for a three-day tournament. The king had been warned not to engage in jousts, or in single combat. He disregarded the warning and carried on with a joust between himself and the Comte de Montgomery, Captain of the Scottish Guard. The warning had been given in 1558 by the physician-turned-occultist, Nostradamus (1503-1566), in a famous quatrain, as follows.
“The Lion shall overcome the old
on the field of war in a single combat;
He will pierce his eyes in a cage of gold
This is the first of two lappings, then he dies a cruel death.”
As predicted in the quatrain, the king was mortally wounded. His younger opponent’s wooden lance pierced the king’s headgear, shattered into fragments, blinded him in the right eye, and penetrated his right orbit and temple.
Although the king called for Diane de Poitiers, his wife, Catherine, would not allow her to go to the king’s side. Even before he actually died she issued the order that began this essay. Catherine was a woman scorned, hell hath no fury as such as woman!
The extraordinary thing about this chateau is that it is built over the river Cher. You'll find great rooms here, an extraordinary kitchen (merits one or two separate tips), outbuildings with a tearoom, a restaurant, a farm, and exhibition rooms. And various gardens.
Do see 4 more photo's in this tip!
Of course the castle. After all that is where you came for. At the entrance to the domain you can buy a ticket. I bought the whole thing, castle, head-phone guided tour, wax museum and of course park. There are seperate tickets for just the park (but that would be a waste of your visit), the wax museum and of course you can visit the castle without the guided tour. Though i must say i quite enjoyed that tour. With the music and the facts it gives you a very good impression of the chateau. And it helps to shut out all the other visitors. Which gave it a big plus in my book
Both the women of Henry II left an impression on the gardens. The garden on the right/hand side of the castle (standing in front of it) was done by Diane de Poitiers. I guess Catherine de Medici was a rather jealous woman since when she took over the castle, she had her own garden installed on the left hand side. They´re both very different so it is fun to walk from the one to the other and compare
Beyond the memorable visit of the castle, Chenonceau offers the possibility of freely discovering the two renowned and magnificent gardens.
Diane de Poitier's garden
The garden is lined with retaining walls and terraces, with on eight grass triangles.
In the very center of Diane's Garden, "Le Jardin de Diane", is the garden's original fountain.
Catherine de Medicis's garden
The garden features climber rose-trees and 16 orange trees, the Building of the Domes, which previously contained the Royal stables and the silk raising yard.