Chateau Chenonceau


I visited this remarkable French castle in October of 2008. Chateau Chenonceau has an extensive and quite thorough website, with lots of history and 3D views of every room that's open to the public. I won't try to replicate that here. Instead, I offer you my own photos and experiences, and recommend you also visit their website.

This expedition consisted of myself, my sister Sharon who lives in France, my sister Elizabeth, and our mother. Actually, the whole trip to France was our 80th birthday gift to our mother, and my sister Elizabeth and I accompanied her on the big trip across the pond. You know, safety in numbers.  :)

Here are out feet (okay, they're actually our shoes) in the parking lot (car park) at Chenonceau. The one with the cane is Mom, the pointy shoes are Elizabeth's, mine are pointed in the opposite direction, and Sharon's are the fourth pair. Now that we've all been introduced, let us proceed!

I found it amusing that the soda machine sports a photo of the chateau, blending the old with the new.

The promenade from the parking lot to the chateau is the spectacular "Grand Avenue of Plane Trees" which is for pedestrians only.



It's really pretty when you look up, too!

Alongside this wide walkway there are woods on one side with lovely little violets scattered about...

...and on the other side, besides woods, was a large area with an arbor, a maze of yews, and the Caryatides off in the distance.

Proceeding on towards the chateau, you come to the moat. Keeps out the riff raff, marauding invaders, whatever. Interestingly, I just found out the term riff raff comes from the French! "The term is derived from Old French 'rif et raf' " -Wiki

Then we arrive at the Marques Tower which was built in the 1400s. The original estate buildings were destroyed as a royal punishment, except for this tower, or donjon (from which we get the word dungeon), which was preserved.

Across from that and over to the right is the Chancellery.

And then we arrive at the front door of the Chateau. Real fancy doorknob for the front door of the castle, eh?

The chateau, part of which stretches across the river Cher, was built later than the tower. From inside the chateau we look out a window and see this extension.

The bridge was built first, by Diane de Poitiers, mistress of Henry II, to whom he gave the estate. Then, after his death, the Gallery was built upon it by Catherine de Medici, Henry II's widow, after she regained possession.

As you enter the chateau, the first room on the left is the Guard's Room. My favorite parts of this room were the floor and the ceiling. Go figure.

This is a bit of the ceiling, with exposed beams, nicely painted.

And this is the very worn tile floor...

...and my favorite tile around the edges of the floor, which had not been so heavily trod upon.

From the Guard's Room, you can enter the Chapel. The windows were installed after WWII. A bomb had blown out the originals.

And looking up in the back of the Chapel, we see the Royal Gallery. This is where the Queens would hang out during Mass.

Ooh la la! These angels adorn the fireplace in Diane de Poitier's bedroom.

While we were in this room two entire tour busloads of people jammed themselves in. We were literally packed like sardines...it was very stuffy and claustrophobic. The two tour directors got in a tiff about which group should be there and which should not.

And this is a bit of the red tile floor. The initials are a combination of an H for Henry (King Henry II) and a mirrored C for his wife, Catherine de Medicis. It also looks a lot like an H and two mirrored Ds. Very clever, those French!

In the bedroom of Cesar of Vendome is this table and chairs. I imagine the floral arrangement on the table would make conversation a bit awkward!

Looking out another window we see the river Cher, and some steps in the wall on the opposite side.

Speaking of the river, let's visit the kitchen! Why? Because it also overlooks the river! See the spindle of rope and the window? I know, it kinda looks like a door here, but really it's a window. Anyhoo... the rope was used to hoist supplies up from boats on the river.

And aren't all those shiny copper pots,  pans, and implements pretty?

If you like copper, you'll adore these molds. I guess even at the castle there was always room for a bit of royal Jello!

(I confess, even though I'm vegan I prefer the thought of Jello to aspic!)

And as our tour of the chateau draws to a close, no visit would be complete without seeing the Gallery. Sort of.

You can see lots of images of this expansive room which crosses the river Cher, and many look the same, though some are more interesting than others. Mine is an artistic, fun shot of my family as we started to go.

But wait...

...there's more! Before you leave the castle, be sure to read this important notice, posted by the front door.

The French version tells you not to leave with a rented iPod. The English version says if you rented an iPod you can't leave the castle. (Ever???)
And take a look at my favorite photo of the castle interior: the flowers on the mantle in the Estampes Exhibition Room.

These flowers, and others throughout the castle, are fresh arrangements, changed twice weekly.

So now, let's go back outside and see some views of the gardens!
This is Jester Millet. Notice the curling top of the one towards the right, like a jester's hat.

I have no idea what this odd flower is. If I were naming it, I'd call it elephant flower cause the long part looks like an elephant's trunk.

Gourds, used in tabletop arrangements, are seen growing in their own little shade house.


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I hope you enjoyed this little tour.
If you did, tell a friend!
Au revoir!
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