Château of Chenonceau (37), France.

It is certainly one of the most romantic place in the Loire valley. We call the Chateau of Chenonceau, le Château des dames, The chateau of the Ladies. It was builded in 1513.

Chenonceau Castle has an exceptional museum collection of the Old Masters’ paintings: Murillo, Le Tintoret, Nicolas Poussin, Le Corrège, Rubens, Le Primatice, Van Loo… as well as an extremely rare selection of Flanders Tapestries from the 16thcentury.

Property of the Crown, then royal residence, Chenonceau Castle is an exceptional site not only because of its original design, the richness of its collections, its furniture and its decorations, but also because of its destiny, since it was loved, administrated and protected by women, who were all extraordinary and who, for the most part have marked history.

For the historical background, the “Château des Dames” was built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet, and successively embellished by Diane de Poitiers then Catherine de Medici. Chenonceau was protected from the hardship of the revolution by Madame Dupin.

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The iron, but very feminine, fist in the velvet glove has always preserved Chenonceau during times of conflict and war in order to make it forever a place of peace.

Throughout its history, this emblematic Castle has always attracted talent and inspired great artists. Conveying beauty and combining the elegance of architecture with that of the spirit is also sharing an elegant way of life.

At Chenonceau Castle, the flower display in every sumptuously furnished room adds to its elegance. The room of Five Queens, the living room of Louis XIV, the grand gallery overlooking the River Cher, fabulous kitchens constructed in the piers of the bridge, the Green Cabinet of Catherine de Medici…Step by step, Chenonceau takes you back in time to share its dreams and reveal its secrets.

The yard of the XVI th century farm, recently restored, will give you the feeling of being part of a historical film set up before entering the Jardin des Fleurs where the flowers that decorate all of the castle’s rooms are raised.

The vegetable garden is lined with 100 climber rose-trees. The configuration of the garden is designed around 12 panels delimited by a row of 240 apple trees and 220 Queen Elizabeth rose-trees.

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In the very center of Diane’s Garden, “Le Jardin de Diane”, is the garden’s original fountain.

The maze also offers the opportunity to discover the caryatids added by Catherine de Médicis on the castle’s front. They had been scraped by madame Pelouzet 300 years later and replaced behind a bush in the park. Now these caryatids are back where they belong, in the background of the maze.

You could have lunch at the Orangerie, fine restaurant or casual at the self-service cafeteria established in the old Royal Stables of the « Bâtiment des Dômes ».

This is a, do not miss.

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