Built on the River Cher in the Loire Valley, the Château de Chenonceau is a masterpiece of 16th-century Renaissance architecture.
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Located in the Loire Valley in central France, Château de Chenonceau is a palace built directly on the River Cher. In the 16th century, Thomas Bohier, a general of finances in the region, and his wife, Katherine, built the château on the site of a modest 13th century castle, which they demolished. The Bohiers built their sprawling château above a series of arches spanning the River Cher. Since Thomas frequently traveled, Katherine, an adept supervisor, took charge of completing the château and enhancing it with splendid details. She ordered that numerous bathrooms, closets and large windows be incorporated into the design.
King François I confiscated the castle after Antoine, the Bohier’s heir, became saddled with debts he could not repay. After François’s death, his son, Henry II, gifted the château to his mistress Diane de Poitiers, a noblewoman. Diane took a great interest in the property, building an arched bridge over the River Cher and planting extensive Italian gardens, orchards, vegetable gardens, grapevines and exquisite flower gardens. After Henry was accidentally killed in 1559, Catherine de’Medici, Henry’s widow, repossessed the Château de Chenonceau. She used the property primarily for throwing elaborate parties and entertaining guests. She also elaborated on Diane’s plans, enlarging the Italian gardens and constructing a spectacular ballroom gallery on the bridge that Diane built.
The architecture of the château is a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles. The château’s many rooms are superbly decorated, with 16th-century Flemish tapestries, ornately carved marble fireplaces, coffered ceilings and an assortment of noteworthy 16th-century paintings. The château also contains a small chapel adorned with devotional art.
A Renaissance jewel, the Château de Chenonceau would come to be known as the Château des Dames or “Castle of Ladies,” due to the prominent women who helped to bring it to its current glory.
Further reading: Wikipedia
Château de Chenonceau, 37150 Chenonceaux
Tel: 0033 820 20 90 90