Results 1-10of 13 Reviews
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
March 10, 2011
Castles of the Loire Valley,
France - not only Paris,
birthplace of true knights
May 25, 2010
Bath, United Kingdom
September 16, 2009
by Wildcat Dianne
August 19, 2009
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Chateau Chenonceau has been in existence since the 11th Century when it was built on the Cher River in the Loire Valley. The chateau was named for the village of Chenonceaux by its first owners and for three centuries after its original construction, Chateau Chenonceau went through several owners before the chateau was torched in 1411 when its owner at the time, Jean Marques, was convicted of sedition and the burning was one of the punishments inflicted.
After the royal Chamberlain of Francois I took over Chenonceau in 1513, they destroyed the original chateau and built the current chateau between 1515-1521. The chamberlain and his wife hosted Francois I and several royals during their time in Chenonceau, and when the chamberlain failed to pay several debts to the crown, it was siezed by the royal family.
When Henri II, Francois I's son, became king in 1547, he gave Chenonceau to his mistress Diane de Poitiers, who fell in love with the chateau and added many features to the chateau including the arched bridge that crosses the Cher River from the chateau and planted several beautiful gardens and terraces that you can see today.
Henri II died in 1559, and his widow, Catherine de Medici, who was very jealous of her late husbands relationship with Diane, had Diane thrown out of Chenoneau and took over the chateau for herself. Talk about "Hell have no fury like a woman scorned!" Catherine had many more gardens put around Chenonceau along with a gallery and other perks. Throughout the next 240 years, Chenonceau would become home to several of Henri II's descendants before leaving the crown's ownership and being owned by several members of the French aristocracy. During the French Revolution, Louise Dupin, wife of the owner of the time, Claude, saved Chateau Chenonceau from destruction by the revolutionaries because of the bridge being an important road for commerce and other travel in the Loire Valley.
After the French Revolution, Chenonceau went under more ownerships outside of the aristocracy before becoming the home of the Menier family in 1913, who are some of France's best chocolatiers, and they still own Chateau Chenonceau today. Chenonceau was a hospital during World War I, and during World War II, escaped Allied prisoners of war and other victims of the Nazis crossed the Cher River from Chenonceau into the unoccupied Vichy Zone.
The French Club and I toured Chenoneau's interior and exterior on our own and I enjoyed seeing the beautiful canopied beds of the Dauphin and Diane de Poitiers. "Gee, I wouldn't mind a canopy bed at home!" Twenty-years later I still don't have a canopy bed, but it's OK to dream about one, isn't it? My favorite part of Chenoneau is the tower that is built into the Cher River. It's been my favorite part of the chateau to draw, and my father has a watercolor in his house in Idaho that I did for my grandmother about a year after I returned from France. Looking at the picture of the tower gives me many fond memories of my 1985 trip to France and the House that Diane built.
From journal Les Chateaux de la Valoire
Broadbeach Waters, Australia
July 1, 2009
From journal The Chateau’s of the lovely Loire Valley
May 11, 2008
From journal Exploring the Chateaux of the Loire Valley
by UK Flower Girl
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
June 27, 2004
Chenonceau is one of the loveliest châteaux in the Loire Valley. Its interesting design, spanning the river Cher, and the magnificent gardens make it a must-see in the Loire Valley.
Six woman left their mark on this château—Katherine Briçonnet, Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medici, Louise de Lorraine, Madame Dupin and Madame Pelouze. Each one did their part to make the château what it is today. Most remarkable was the addition of the arched bridge over the river and formal gardens by Diane de Poitiers, and the turreted pavilion built by Katherine Briçonnet, wife of the first owner, Thomas Bohier.
We started our visit with the Catherine de Medici garden and continued with a walk along the river promenade and then ventured back to the entrance of the château to start our tour. The Catherine de Medici garden, the smaller of the two, uses about 130,000 bedded plants each year. It has a central pool and fountain and was blooming with pink tulips when we visited.
I will not expand on the history of the château as it is extensive and there are plenty of books and websites out there that will tell you everything you need to know.
We started in the Guards’ Room where you will find Flemish tapestries and the famous 16th-century oak door with the words, "S’il vient à point, me sowiendra" meaning, "If I manage to build, I will be remembered"—words spoken by Thomas Bohier and his wife Katherine Briçonnet.
From here we continued on to the tiny chapel with stained glass windows dating from 1954 since the originals were bombed out during the war. You will visit Diane de Poitiers’ bedroom, a study and the library before coming to the long gallery.
Catherine de Medici built this gallery on the bridge built by Diane de Poitiers. The gallery is a ballroom with dimensions of 60 metres by 6 metres and lit by arched windows down its length. An interesting fact about the gallery is that during WWII the gallery’s southern door, leading to the left bank of the Cher River, provided access to the free zone while the entrance was in the occupied zone.
Francois I’s bedroom contains a few masterpieces. The Renaissance chimney is supposed to be one of the most beautiful. The 16th-century Italian cabinet with mother-of-pearl and ivory and the Van Loo painting beside it are worth extra time.
The next notable room is the Five Queens’ Bedroom named for Catherine De Medici’s two daughters and three daughters-in-law. The ceiling displays the Five Queens’ coats-of-arm.
On the way out, take some time to visit the larger garden, Diane de Poitiers’ garden. It is overlooked by the steward’s house, La Chancellerie, built in the 16th century. The house was covered in purple wisteria when we were there—beautiful! We watched tiny lizards basking in the sunshine and scurrying along the walls as we walked along the sides.
From journal Gems of the Loire Valley
, West Virginia
May 7, 2004
Tintoret, Van Loo, Murillo, and others.The castle is a virtual museum of royal
artwork visitors can’t see anywhere else. I was amused at the portrait of Catherine of
Medici plastered into the fireplace so that it could not be removed. (This is in Diane’s
former bedroom, and Catherine, Henry’s wife, kicked the mistress out and moved in
herself after Henry’s death.) The beautiful chimney is by Jean Goujon, a French sculptor
from the Fontainebleau School, so the plaster job had to be a good one, and I suppose
Catherine figured that nobody would dare ruin that artwork by removing her
portrait, recognized as "stern."
, many paintings.Also in Diane’s bedroom is "Virgin with Child" by Murillo,
and the chapel has another of his paintings (St. Antoine of Padua) and
Assumption by Jouvenet. The "Green Study" of Catherine de Medici, regent at
her husband’s death, is even more replete with art: Tintoret, Jordaens, Veronese,
Poussin, and Van Dyck. The library displays an Andrea del Sarto, and Francois I’s
Bedroom, a self-portrait by Van Dyck and The Three Graces (three sisters,
favorites of Louis XV) by Van Loo.
Van Loo’s Portrait of King Louis XV is in
the Louis XIV Living Room. Here, we met another of the "Dames of Chenonceau,"
Madame Dupin (portrait by Nattier), of interest to literary folk as grandmother of George
Sand and host to Voltaire.
Dames to the rescue!The women of the
chateau saved it from destruction several times by making it available for other uses:
hospital during WWI, "Free Zone" during WWII, wood store during the Revolution.
Today, it is art and history museum and World Heritage treasure. Tapestries alone could
furnish a museum of that industry. Plus, it was the home of other notable women, such
as Louise of Lorraine, "the White Queen," perpetually mourning Henry III. Mary Stuart,
Queen of Scotland, was also related and a visitor. An original builder, Katherine
Briconnet, worked on the design alone while her husband was in Italy.
Chenonceau is truly "The Dames’ Chateau."
Before we left.We
skipped the wax museum in preference to sitting outdoors with pastries at the Orangerie.
Anyone would want to linger on the grounds. David went to study the ramparts’
structures rising from the water, but I was "finished" after two chateaux in one
day! The train back to Tours would soon be just down the lane.
From journal Touring Chateaux from Azay-le-Rideau
Cinnaminson, New Jersey
November 23, 2003
The Ceasar de Vendome bedroom has a beautiful mantel above the fireplace with a royal lion in the middle and 19th-century classical paintings around it, 17th-century Brussels tapestries on the walls, and statues of goddesses carrying the arch of the windows. And next door is Catherine de Medici’s bedroom with beautiful red/light blue and gold painted ceilings split in squares, painted walls with exotic plants, gorgeous tapestries, wonderfully sewn bed and Corregio’s painting. Connected with this bedroom is Cabinet d’Estampes with aquamarine walls and a beautiful plafond on the ceiling, gravures on the walls showing views of Chenonceau, adjacent small room has a beautiful Renaissance ceiling, same walls and more paintings of chateau. The second floor also has a gallery that has temporary exhibitions of modern day painters. The gallery has beautiful fireplaces on each end with mantels decorated with titans on the sides and royal coats of arms in the middle. Up the staircase yet again, and there is another large hall with arched Renaissance ceilings leads to the most unglamorous room in the building – Louise de Lorraine’s bedroom. It is very dark with brown ceilings and black walls. She lived here after her husband king Henri III was killed and the decoration of the room is a symbol of eternal mourning.
On your way back to the exit, you can also walk through a large maze made of yews with the statues of Caryatides in the background, and stroll through the park with tall large trees that create a lot of shade. On a hot day it is very refreshing.
From journal Chateau de Chenonceau
Between the gallery and Diane de Poitiers’ bedroom, there is the Green Study (named so because it has green walls), the room from which Catherine de Medici ruled France. It boasts paintings by Tintoretto, Jordaens, Veronese, Van Dyck, Ribera and exceptional Brussels tapestries. The library continues the green theme with green velvet walls and has a great view of the gardens from the window, a gorgeous coffered Renaissance ceiling, and paintings by Corregio, del Sarto, and Bassano. Diane de Poitiers’ bedroom next door has a large white fireplace with golden letters "H" and "C" with crowns and lilies for Henri and Catherine, Murillo’s painting "Virgin and child", and two large Flemish tapestries depicting the triumph of force and charity.
The Guards’ Room can be either the first or the last room that you see on the first floor. It has a coat of arms above the fireplace and tapestries on the walls; the floor tiles used to be blue glazed, but nothing much is left from the glaze. The Chapel, which is located between the Guards’ Room and Diane de Poitier’s bedroom, has modern stained-glass windows by Max Ingrand, original Gothic naves, a Carrara marble statue of the Virgin in the niche on the right, and paintings by Cano, Sasoferrato, and Ribera.
A Renaissance staircase (one of the first Italian staircases in France) with ribbed vaults and coffers decorated with human faces with various expressions leads to the second floor. Here the tour starts with the Five Queens’ bedroom with Flemish tapestries with scenes of the siege of Troy and kidnapping of Helen, Renaissance coffered ceiling with five queens’ coats of arms, the queen’s bed with crimson coverings and hand-sewn baldachin; from the double balcony there is the best view of the tower and the gardens. Catherine Briconnet’s hall, with a great view of the staircase and 17th-century Audenarde tapestries on both sides, leads to Chamber of Gabrielle d’Estrees with beautiful bed and tapestries on the wall, painting of Saint Cecilia to the left of the bed on the wall. Gabriel d’Estrees was Henri IV’s favorite and mother of Ceasar de Vendome who was the owner of Chenonceau in the 17th century and whose bedroom is right next door.
Continued in Part V