Let me start by saying this will be a long post with a lot of pictures and more text than usually. So if you only have five minutes you may want to save this for later when you have more time.
After St. Malo it was time to leave the beautiful Northern Atlantic coast and make our into the Loire Valley. While I enjoyed my time by the sea immensely, the Loire valley has a distinct beauty of its own that draws you in.
Our first stop was Chateau de Chenonceau which has quite the history. If walls and trees could talk (outside of Narnia) I can only imagine the stories they would tell of this Chateau.
It is located on the river Cher, and when I say on, I literally mean this manor of cement and rocks is on top of the river. You will see what I mean in just a bit.
Chenonceau had a long history even before it fell into Royal hands. From 1243 until 1533 the property as well as a smaller version of the existing structure was owned by various families. They royal family definitely added a few embellishments here and there.
|Diane de Poitiers' Garden|
Chenonceau became a place where King Francis I would hold hunting parties with his wife Queen Eléonore. When King Francis I died his son Henry II took the throne. Even though Henry was married to one of my favourite queens: Catherine de Medici, he had a mistress (19 years older than himself) named Diane de Poitiers, whom he gave Chenonceau to as a gift. The Queen and the Mistress became bitter rivals, a very interesting story for another time but if you would like to read a book please check out my post on a book about Catherine.
|Imagine having this as your front door!!!!|
The Guards' Room
Much like the other rooms in the Chateau, the Guards' Room is no exception to the large tapestry hanging on the wall. This room is pretty much empty and I'm guessing that with the exception of maybe a table and a few more chairs, this was how it was when in use by the men assigned to protect the Royal inhabitants when they were here.
One of the things I love most about France is the abundance of Gothic architecture and cathedrals. While I am not Catholic, I just love the cathedrals with their tall stain glass windows and high ceilings.
Diane de Poitiers' Bedroom
Soon the King died and Catherine took over as Queen regent for her young son Francis II. One of her first issues to tackle was the tenant of Chenonceau. Crown jewels were returned to Catherine and Diane was evicted.
Does anyone else wonder why the beds in Royal Palaces (i.e. Versailles) are always quite small?
The Green Study
This is the study of Catherine de Medici, on the really nice green walls there are several portraits plus a display of coins with various monarchs on them.
The Gallery is the part that is built literally on the river. Catherine commissioned a two-story gallery to be built over what was then a bridge crossing the Cher, which is how Chenonceau remains today.
Francis I Drawing Room
Louis XIV's Drawing Room
Clearly a fan of the colour red
Catherine de Medici's Room
The Five Queen's Room
Catherine's two daughters: Queen Margot and Elisabeth of France
Catherine's daughters-in-law: Mary Stuart, Elisabeth of Austria, Louise of Lorraine
Louise of Lorraine's Room
After the death of her husband King Henry II, she retired to Chenonceau permanently and shut herself away in a very dark room. There is no flash allowed and so I did my best to take a couple pictures.
Her Husband Roi Henri III
This sculpture is called Caryatides. It reminds me of something from Narnia.
Thank you for those who read through this super long post! This was probably one of my favourites to write and I definitely spent a lot of time on it. I love history so it was nice to travel to an exquisite place like Chenonceau knowing it has a rich (pardon the pun) history.
Have you been here? Is this a place you would like to travel too?
Labels: 2013, Chateau de Chenonceau, Europe, France, Loire Valley, Royal History, Travel, UNESCO, Wanderlust