Chateau de Cheverny
is a rare thing within the LoireValley -
a chateau that appears untouched by the Renaissance. This
could have a lot to do with the fact that it has remained in
the same family, the Huraults,
for six centuries. Built sometime between 1604 and 1635,depending
on whose account you read, the 17th century
chateau is built in pure Louis XIII classical style with a rigid symmetry.The look is softened by the architect’s use of different roof styles from bell towers to domes.
The chateau you see today is as it was originally built and the feeling of stepping back in time is only enhanced by a visit inside where it is impressively decorated and furnished. As with many of the Loire
chateaux ladies played a major part in its construction and
decoration with Marguerite Gaillard
) directing the build and her daughter completing the
The chateau is
still owned by descendents of the
original builders, the Hurault
family and has retained an intimate charm. The interior reflects a
living history of the generations of the family. The largest room,
The Arms Room contains weapons, tapestry, chests, trunks and a
carved wood chimney piece painted by Jean Monier in the 17th
century. There are priceless tapestries all through the chateau as
well as paintings and rare furnishings.
The care and affection
lavished upon this chateau is apparent from top to bottom. The
dining room is decorated with wood panels, telling the story of Don Quichotte. The room contains a beautiful fireplace and
dresser from the 19th century. There is also a treasure hunt for the children to
entertain them as they walk through
The opening of the
chateau to the public keeps these magnificent buildings preserved
for future generations to see and enjoy.
The grounds of chateau de Cheverny with its large lawns and flower beds can be
explored on foot or by hiring a golf cart for a more
leisurely tour or
you can ride a
boat on the canal.
There is an
orangey within the grounds that
was used during the second world war
as a safe haven for many works of art from the
Louvre in Paris,
including the Mona Lisa.
The grounds are
a great spot to bring a picnic lunch - with an area
set out just for that purpose
walking around the grounds you can hear the hounds that
still lead the chase as has been done since the 17th
century.The kennels by the main
entrance are home to over 100 hounds and feeding time ()
is an exhibition in itself.
The chateau de Cheverny's
architecture, minus the two extreme towers, was the
inspiration behind Herge’s
Marlinspike Hall the home of cartoon character
Tintin’s friend Captain Haddock.
This has led to the estate and The
Herge Foundation building a permanent exhibition on
site under the banner ’The Secrets of Marlinspike Hall.
The exhibition is obviously
a must for Tintin fans but even they might be disappointed
at it's content - a little 'flat' with its picture boards
and well worn 'reveal' doors giving you a taste of the
characters. There are a few room settings with the main room
coming alive with a telephone ringing-which should be
answered in French-and the effects oflightning and glass
breaking but today's kids will not be terribly
excited by it.
its own it would not justify the visit but added to the chateau
it makes for a good day out. You can purchase different
tickets giving you the option of simply viewing the chateau
or a combination of this with the exhibition and/or gardens.
In the spring the gardens are planted up with thousands of
tulips which make for a wonderful display of colour.
There is ample parking
within easy reach of the chateau and a lovely village
setting giving you a number of eating options, which are
reasonably priced considering their location, if you prefer
this to taking a picnic.