The Château de Chenonceau situated on the Cher River which is a left tributary to the river Loire. The river suffered a devastating flood in 1940, which damaged Château de Chenonceau, which spans the river, and other structures along the banks.
Alongside the river, in the centre of the arbor and facing the caryatides, a maze with two thousand yews has been planted in the spirit of Catherine de' Medici's time, according to an Italian plan dating from 1720.
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
Catherine de' Medici built this gallery as a ballroom over the bridge Diane de Poitiers left behind. It's 60 meters long and 6 meters wide with 18 windows that give you lovely views of the River Cher. The Gallery was inaugurated in 1577 during festivities hosted by Catherine in honor of her son King Henry III.
During WWI the Gallery was turned into a hospital by the owner, Monsieur Gaston Menier, who installed it at his own expense.
In WWII the Chateau was the dividing line between the Free Zone and the Occupied Zone, one end was free the other occupied.
Originally this was the guards room for the men who protected the royalty that lived here.
The walls are covered with 16th Century Flemish tapestries. Above the 16th century oak door, (under the figures of St. Catherine & St. Thomas) is the motto of Thomas Bohier & Katherine Briconnet the builders of Chenonceau: "If I manage to build Chenonceau, I will be remembered".
There are two renowned and magnificent gardens of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis. They are ornamented with a myriad of shrubs, hundreds of climbing and stemmed roses. There are among 40,000 flowers grown in the Domain, which are planted twice a year in spring, and in summer. There are also 70 hectares of richly wooded parks.
Lavish court receptions and transvestite balls were held under Catherine's auspices.
Those rich girls had some great parties in those days!.
The gardens are lovely to wander through and imagine what famous people wandered there so long ago.
In 2003, the building of a maze and the creation of a night promenade bring back the way of life of the 16th century. A new maze, rebuilt exactly from Catherine de Medicis' plans, will be opened to visitors this summer. Lined with yews, according to a circular plan and rounded by a tree-covered walk. The remaining free spaces are filled with cast iron vases. In the middle, a raised gazebo drawn by Chief Architect of Historical Buildings, Arnaud de Saint Jouan, allows complete sight over the maze and its layout. The maze also offers the opportunity to discover the caryatids added by Catherine de Medici on the castle's front. They had been scraped by madame Pelouzeet 300 years later and replaced behind a bush in the park. Now these caryatids are back where they belong, in the background of the maze.
In The Dome's Building, which originally was the stables, is a new wax museum showing the women who built Chenonceau : Katherine Brionnet, Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medici, Maris Stuart, Louise de Lorraine, Madame Dupin, Madame Pelouze. The collection of costumes made according to genuine documents will take you on a charming walk into the past.
The Wax Museum is open all year.
The Photo taken from Wax Museum site.
The hall is covered with a series of rib vaults whose keystones, detached from each other, form a broken line. The baskets are decorated with foliage, roses, cherubs, chimera and cornucopia. Made in 1515, it is one of the most beautiful examples of decorative sculpting from the French Renaissance period
Catherine de Medici's bedoorm is done in 16th century furniture and is decorated with 16th Flemish tapestries of animals symbolizing proverbs and fables. The painting next to the bed is "The Teaching of Love" by Le Correge. This one is on wood and another hangs in Londons National Gallery done on canvas. Quite provacative..
Basically, the to do list I can recommend in terms of visit (1 to 4 are detailed in a specific tip) is:
1. The Château and the Tour des Marques (souvenir shop)
2. The rooms inside the Château
3. The Gardens of Diane de Poitier + the Chancellery, the garden of Catherine de Médicis
4. The Cave des Dômes, the wax museum (Galerie des Dames) and the orangerie
5. The park, including the maze
6. The flower-vegetable garden (not seen)
7- The night-time promenade (not done)
Telephone : 00 33 (0)2 47 23 90 07, 44 14 for the fax
E - mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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)
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.
Domes in the Building, the new wax museum around the ladies who made Chenonceau: Katherine Briçonnet, Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medici, Mary Stuart, Louise de Lorraine, Madame Dupin, Madame Pelouze. Historical walking tour of Chenonceau in the Renaissance to the Great War: 1518 - 1918. Wonderful collection of costumes made from the materials of the time.
When visit this museum, we need pay more if in our ticket not included visit the museum.
For some reason unknown to me, the town is Chenonceaux and the chateau is Chenoceau. I'd love to know the reason but until someone enlightens me, it's a French mystery.
Update: Fellow VT members told me that the owner of the chateau changed the name during the Revolution because they wanted to distinguish the "royal" chateau from the "republican" village. Makes perfect sense.
The town is quite small and can be filled with tourists. We love both chateau and gardens and have driven through the town many times on the way to somewhere. We always noticed this restaurant. The name and the ivy-covered walls are very welcoming. If we're ever there at lunch, we're going to try it. We have eaten at the chateau and it is very convenient.
On our last trip, the chateau was filled with French schoolchildren brought in by bus so the town was relatively quiet.