Château de Chenonceau. Castle in France, Europe

Château de Chenonceau

Castle in France, Europe

Chateau de Chenonceau 2012-06-02-16 Photo © Mark Weston

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Château de Chenonceau

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Château de Chenonceau - France -
	Château de Chenonceau
Château de Chenonceau - France - Château de Chenonceau. Photo by Meiry Peruch Mezari
The Château de Chenonceau is a magnificent château in the Loire Valley of France. This beautiful 16th-century château spans the River Cher near the village of Chenonceau, and is the second most-visited château in France after the Palace of Versailles.

History

Construction of the Château de Chenonceau began in 1513 under the supervision of French noblewoman, Katherine Briçonnet (Wikipedia Article). Chenonceau is unique in that its construction, design, and decoration was primarily influenced by the women who owned it. In the middle of the 16th century, Chenonceau was given to Diane de Poitiers (Wikipedia Article) as a gift from King Henry II of France, who ordered the construction of the spectacular arched bridge that connects the château to the opposite bank of the Cher.

After the king died, his widow, Catherine de’ Medici (Wikipedia Article), forced Diane to move to Château de Chaumont and used Chenonceau as her own residence, adding new gardens. Throughout her time at Chenonceau, she hosted many extravagant parties, added rooms, and hosted the first fireworks display in France. After her death, the château belonged to various nobility, including the Duc de Vendôme and his descendants, and is now open to the public to amaze visitors from around the world.

Chenonceau Diane de Poitiers Garden - Château de Chenonceau
Chenonceau Diane de Poitiers Garden - Château de Chenonceau. Photo by Benh LIEU SONG

Things to See

You won’t regret visiting this beautiful French château due to the wide variety of historic artifacts on display as well as its spectacular architecture. There are dozens of impressive spaces to explore, including bedrooms, galleries, kitchens, living rooms, and extensive gardens.

Room of Diane de Poitiers

France-001553 - Diane de Poitiers' Bedroom - Château de Chenonceau
France-001553 - Diane de Poitiers' Bedroom - Château de Chenonceau. Photo by Dennis Jarvis
Some of the most luxurious spaces within the castle are its bedrooms. The room of Diane de Poitiers features masterpieces by artists such as Murillo and Ribalta, as well as exquisite tapestries which depict scenes from the Old Testament.

Room of Francis I

The bedroom of King Francis I showcases an exquisite fireplace, a remarkable 16th-century Italian cabinet, and numerous paintings.

Room of Catherine de’ Medici

This stunning space is certainly fit for a queen such as Catherine de’ Medici (Wikipedia Article), who was Queen of France in the mid-16th century and spent most of her final years at Chenonceau.

Room of Five Queens

Chambre
	des cinq reines - Château de Chenonceau
Chambre des cinq reines - Château de Chenonceau. Photo by leniners
One of Chenonceau’s most famous rooms is the Room of Five Queens, which contains various tapestries, a majestic bed, and works by artists such as Rubens and Pierre Mignard. It was used by Catherine de’ Medici’s daughters, Margaret of France and Elisabeth of Valois, as well as three daughter-in-laws, Mary, Queen of Scots; Elisabeth of Austria, and Louise of Lorraine.

Living Room of Louis XIV

The living room of King Louis XIV is known for its Renaissance-style fireplace, 17th and 18th century portraits of various royalty, and exquisite furniture.

Garden of Diane de Poitiers

On a nice day, the garden of Diane de Poitiers is the perfect place to stroll through flowers, past fountains, and enjoy the marvelous views of the château she helped to design.

Garden of Catherine de’ Medici

The garden designed by Catherine de’ Medici is known for its diverse array of thousands of flowers, as well as its alley of orange trees.

The Garden Maze

Château
	de Chenonceau - Château de Chenonceau
Château de Chenonceau - Château de Chenonceau. Photo by Henk Bekker
Chenonceau has a garden maze that is popular with visitors of all ages. It’s especially great for children, since there is a special play area near the maze where they can release some energy in the warmer months.

The Donkey Park

One unusual aspect of this historic area is the presence of the Donkey Park, an area that is home to several friendly donkeys that often approach visitors. Other animals that will delight visitors include ducks, pigeons, squirrels, and occasionally even salamanders.

Château de Chenonceau - Château de Chenonceau
Château de Chenonceau. Photo by Andrea Schaffer

Practical Information

Chateau
	de Chenonceau - The Gallery  - Château de Chenonceau
Chateau de Chenonceau - The Gallery - Château de Chenonceau. Photo by Geoff Livingston
Chenonceau is located approximately two hours south of Paris by car. It is easiest to reach the château by car, but it is also possible to get there using public transportation. There are frequent buses from cities such as Paris and Tours, or you can use regional trains such as the TER, which stops at Chenonceau. The châteaux of the Loire Valley are very popular with tourists, so if you like group tours, there are many to be found that will allow you to explore the region for a reasonable price.

Address: 37150 Chenonceaux, France

Hours: The Château de Chenonceau is open daily from 9:00 until 17:00 through 20:00, depending on the season.

Prices: Admission to the château costs approximately €13 ($15) for adults and €10 ($12) for students with valid ID and children between the ages of 7 and 18. Children under 7 are given free admission, and audio guides are available for rental at an additional cost.

Services: Chenonceau is also home to a restaurant known as l’Orangerie, a tea house, a snack bar, and a covered outdoor picnic area.

Similar Attractions

There are dozens of other beautiful châteaux throughout France, including several in the Loire Valley near Chenonceau. Some of the most famous examples include Château de Chambord, Château de Chaumont, Château d'Azay-le-Rideau, and Château d’Amboise.

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Author: ehuttner. Last updated: Jun 17, 2015

Pictures of Château de Chenonceau

The hall of the château de Chenonceau - Château de Chenonceau
The hall of the château de Chenonceau - Photo by Tor Lillqvist

Château de Chenonceau - Château de Chenonceau
Château de Chenonceau - Photo by revedavion.com

Chateau de Chenonceau 2012-06-02-16 - Château de Chenonceau
Chateau de Chenonceau 2012-06-02-16 - Château de Chenonceau. Photo by Mark Weston

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