Grand Chateaux Of The Loire Valley – Chenonceau

This will be the second of three posts centering on chateaux from the Loire Valley in France. Next on my list is the magnificent Château de Chenonceau.

Known for its architectural mixture of Gothic and French Renaissance, the château was originally constructed on the Cher River sometime during the 11th century. Destroyed twice and rebuilt, it eventually fell into the hands of French King Henry II, who gifted it to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, in 1547.  After Henry’s death in 1559, his wife, Queen Chatherine  took over Chenonceau. It became a favorite residence, and she added a series of elaborate gardens and years later, a grand gallery which crossed the entire river. As Regent of France, Catherine hosted extravagant evening events. In 1560, a massive celebration for her son’s ascension to the throne even included fireworks (the first ever seen in France.)

Chateau_de_Chenonceau-Jardins_de_Catherine_de_Medicis-PA00097654chateau-de-chenonceau_b - ariel view

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