Often described as the “Garden of France“, the Loire Valley is a land of magnificent châteaux, world-renowned wines, storybook villages and natural beauty.
Among the hundreds of châteaux stretching along the languid Loire river, Chenonceau castle is nothing less than sublime. With a remarkable art collection, bountiful gardens, splendid ceilings and colossal fireplaces, this 15th-century Renaissance jewel is certainly one of the most romantic castles in the Loire Valley.
“Château des Dames”
With its five arches spanning over the Cher river, Chenonceau has often been described as ‘The ladies chateau’ since it was built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet, embellished by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici and then saved from destruction during the Revolution by Madame Dupin. Administrated and protected by women, this sumptuously furnished castle is a delight to explore.
Chenonceau Castle was used as a hospital for soldiers wounded during the First World War. The castle played an important role in World War II as the boundary between Nazi occupied Vichy France and Free France was marked by the river Cher. Since the chateau side was free, the bridge wing across the river was used by the Resistance to cross from Free France to German occupied part.
Isolated on a large square courtyard, the Marques Tower is the oldest standing building remaining from the original fortress built in 1432.
Beautiful Castle Interiors
Its remarkable collection of paintings by great masters such as Rubens, Murillo and Le Tintoret utterly impressed us as well as the tapestries dating from the 16th and 17th centuries adorning the rooms. An undeniable feminine touch can be perfectly seen as you wander around the interiors of this exquisite Renaissance château.
Lit by 18 windows, the grand gallery with its 60 metres long, 6 metres wide and beautiful floor in black and white extends over the placid Cher river.
The kitchens were built at the base of the pillars of the bridge.
From July 1 to August 31, Chenonceau Castle is even more magical when lit up in the evening.