It was was a dream on a river just by looking at it from the view of the Chateau on the outside. The castles in France are always amazing, while on a France trip, the one you can’t miss is Chateau De Chenonceau. This magnificent château of the Loire Valley offers a gallery set on the river, its décor and furniture is like in a dream.
In the Middle Ages, Chenonceaux only was a fortified mansion on the bank of the Cher River, close to a mill. The estate was the property of the de Marques family. The château was rebuilt by Jean de Marques in 1432. His ruined heirs sold their property in 1513 to Thomas Bohier, a collector of taxes for Kings Charles VIII, Louis XII and François I. Thomas decided to rebuild the edifice. Catherine Briçonnet, his wife, inspected the works whereas her husband accompanied François I in Italy. The old keep was maintained and received an Italianate décor. On the piles of the former mill, the sumptuous manor was constructed and is held for the masterpiece of French Renaissance.
Thomas Bohier died in 1524. To pay off his father’s debts, Antoine, gave the château to the King. Later it was offered by Henri II to Diane de Poitiers who had lovely gardens made here. The great architect Philibert Delorme was then in charge of throwing a bridge over the Cher River. When the King died, his widow Catherine de Medici constrained the royal mistress to exchange the château with the one of Chaumont. The Queen of France ordered that the so original gallery on the Cher be erected. Dazzling feasts took place at Chenonceau during her reign. At the end of the XVIth century, Louise de Lorraine, the widow of Henri III became the new proprietor of the château, followed by César de Vendôme. In 1730, the Prince de Condé gave the château to the farmer general Dupin who invited Voltaire, Buffon, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Marivaux. During the Revolution, Madame Dupin transformed the chapel into a wood store and thus saved it.
Apart from the old keep isolated on a terrace, any military aspect has disappeared in this amusement castle with barbizans on the angles. The entrance of the château is surmounted by a balcony supported by pendentives. On the left can be found the library and the chapel, on the right the apartments. The building has only one floor above which the finely carved attic windows elegantly decorate the roof. The façades of the galleries already present all the characteristics of the Classical architecture. Inside, a straight staircase, like at Azay-le-Rideau, enables to enter the hall and provides access to the various rooms all extremely well furnished.
Dianes’s beautiful flower beds have been recreated with a rare perfection and the château has found again this aristocratic serenity described by Flaubert. Since 1972, a wax museum has been installed in the former stables.
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