Experience Loire home page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loire Valley holiday homes to rent direct from owners.

 

 

 

'Old Walnut Mill'

Sleeps up to 4

Barrou

 

house to rent in Le Grand Pressigny

'Les Balcons'

Sleeps up to 6

Le Grand Pressigny

 

Great barn conversion in village of Barrou

 

'Le Bourg'

Sleeps up to 6

Barrou

 

 

'La Belle Vue'

Sleeps 2

Barrou

 

 

 

Chateau de Chenonceau

 

 

Chenonceau castle from the south bank of the river Cher

 

 

Chateau de Chenonceau is the most visited and photographed chateau of the Loire Valley in France. It is often described as ‘the ladies chateau’ as throughout its history it is they who have most influenced its design and its destiny...it was not always the chateau we see today.

 

time span of Chateau de Chenoncea river span

Thomas Bohier, in 1512, acquired what was a small fortress by the river Cher and decided to replace it with a 'Renaissance' style chateau leaving only the keep from the original building.

 

It was his wife Katherine Briconnet who oversaw its build as her husband spent a lot of time away at war and she has left a great legacy. The chateau was later held over to the monarchy to pay-off debts and used by them to stage hunts and festivals.

 

 

 Henri II gave it to his mistress Diane de Poitiers it was she who added the bridge over the Cher as well as the gardens.

 

 

 

When Henri died, the Queen, Catherine de' Medici, forced Diane out of Chenonceau (to Chateau de Chaumont), even though by then she was its legitimate owner. Catherine proceeded to build the gallery and grand ballroom on Diane’s bridge which finally gave Chenonceau its now iconic look.

 

Diane would in fact refuse to live at Chaumont and the "Eternally Beautiful" lady of Chenonceau would finish her days in the nearby castle of Anet.

 

 

 

Chenonceau castle is reasonably well furnished with Renaissance furniture, a good collection of 16 th and 17 th century tapestries and a great number of masterpieces.

Le Primatice, Rubens, Le Tintoret, Rigaud, Nattier are among the most famous names that can be found there

 

 

 

 

The small chapel is a delight -the original windows here were destroyed by a bombing in 1944; the replacement stained glass were made by a master glassworker 1954. There is a gallery where the 'royals' would attend  mass. Allegedly it was saved during the Revolution  by Madame Dupin converting it  into a wood store!

 

 

The kitchens of chateau de Chenonceau are located within its vaulted cellars on the first and second piers of the 'bridge'. There is a small landing platform beneath, this was where supplies would be transferred from riverboats to the servants for stocking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 16th century chimney  in the pantry is the oldest in the chateau. They look so pristine -- it would be interesting to go back to a time when the staff were busying about trying to cater for their demanding royal hosts above and see what the real conditions were like!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It survived the revolution due to its then owners being well respected by the local population and because of its strategic position as a crossing of the river Cher. Henri Menier, whose descendants still own the castle, bought it in 1888.

During the First World War, Chenonceau castle was used as a hospital. It is believed Madam Menier even nursed some of the soldiers herself and in the second World War it was used as a route by the Résistance to enter Vichy ( Free) France from the German occupied part of the country as  the River Cher was the dividing line between the two. It was during this time the 'modern' equipment was fitted in the kitchens

 

As you walk the Plane tree lined avenue (after having paid your money) you can see little of the spectacle that awaits you at the end. Depending on the time of year you are greeted with a variety of colourful displays(130K bedding plants are used in summer) that make you stop and stare before taking in the sight you'll have probably seen in pictures many times before but they are nothing compared to the real thing!

 

 

 

 

 

Chenonceau's well maintained gardens and grounds are a delight.

 

You can walk through the gardens illuminated at night.

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in June and every evening from July 1 to August 31.

Starts 21 h 30
 

 

 
There is a good restaurant/café, 'The Orangerie' built in what used to be the stables where you can have a meal or just a coffee to revive you. There is also a snack bar/creperie located near the ticket office.

It is best not to visit Château de Chenonceau mid-day or mid-afternoon if you want to avoid the crowds and remember to have your driving licence and passport with you if you want to hire their audio equipment.

 In France you are required to have these items with you at all times during your visit.

 

The car park, though large, can be busy so you may have to be patient.  When walking to the chateau you can take the well worn route of the tree lined avenue or take a left through the park which should be a little quieter. Though as we have said to catch site of its splendour after having walked the length of the avenue is a pleasure in itself.
When leaving take a walk to the left of the restaurant and look at their 'old village' setting - charming - and then on to their nursery gardens.

 

 

Christmas tree at Chenonceau

 
 
 
Open every day
from January 1to February 15: 9.30 am to 5.00 pm
from February 16 to March 31: 9.30 am to 5.30 pm
from April 1 to May 31: 9 am to 7 pm
from June 1 to June 30:  9 am to 7.30 pm
from July 1 to August 31 : 9 am to 8.00 pm
from September  1to September 30 : 9 am to 7'30 pm
from October 1 to  October 25: 9 am to 6:30 pm
from October 26 to November 11: 9 am to 6:00 pm
from November 12 to December 31: 9.30 am to 5 pm
 
 
 



Prices
 
2015 Adults

 

Children   Students  
Castle (with brochure) 12.50 € 9.50 € 9.50 €
Castle (audio video guided tour) 17.00 € 13.50 € 13.50 €

 

External links:

 

http://www.chenonceau.com/            Website of Chateau de Chenonceau.

http://www.podibus.com/                  In French but with good 'virtual tour'.

 

Blogroll:

 

nadomissy.blogspot.fr                      Personal blog post on visit

 

experienceloire.blogspot                   Chenonceau at Christmas

 

 

  

 

By car from Paris: A10 motorway (exits Blois or Amboise).

From Paris, the duration of the trip is:
- two hours by car via motorway A10 (exit Blois or Amboise)
- one hour by TGV from Paris-Montparnasse to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (Tours)
- one hour and 35 minutes by TGV from Paris-CDG Airport to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (Tours)
- 25 minutes by TER Tours-Chenonceaux (village)

By car from Tours: Take D40, 30km east of the city  (North side of River Cher).

Parking in the large shaded car parks are free for visitors.
 

 

 

To get directions to Chenonceau and see map, type in your post code or your starting point,  i.e.: 'Paris'

 

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"Author: Jim Craig"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rentals

 

Choose a village house to rent in the Loire Valley direct from the owners.

 

 

'Les Balcons'

Sleeps up to 6

Le Grand Pressigny

 

 

 

'Le Bourg'

Sleeps up to 6

Barrou

 

 

 

'Old Walnut Mill'

Sleeps up to 4

Barrou

 

 

'La Belle Vue'

Sleeps 2

Barrou