Tuesday, April 28, 2009
LOIRE VALLEY: CHEATEUX de CHENONCEAUX
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 Chateaux de Chenonceaux
Yesterday we arrived at the hotel just as the rain began before three in the afternoon. It rained all night long; we were concerned about our plans for today as the weather reports were predicting a full day of rain. But, by eight o’clock this morning the rain had stopped, the sky was still full of dark clouds; but other than light sprinkles it was great!
Based on yesterday’s experience we got on the autoroute immediately and paid the toll to take us to our first destination: the Chateaux de Chenonceaux, my favorite of all of the Loire Valley Chateaus. One of the unique things about this particular site is the fact that everyone has the opportunity to walk through the forest before viewing the Chateau that is built in the river, as the parking is about a fifteen minute walk to the actual chateau. Once you leave the forest there are beautiful gardens surrounding the front entry that leads over a draw bridge into the Chateau.
Built in the sixteenth century on The Cher River, it is known as “the chateau of the ladies” because of the many different Royal Women who lived and loved in this beautiful edifice. The most famous were Diane de Poitiers, the Mistress of Henry II and Catherine de Medicis, the wife of Henry II and the mother of future kings. During WW I it served as a hospital and during WW II it served as a passage between the German held France and the Vichy free France; each having access to one side of the structure.
The rooms are all staged with furniture dating from the sixteenth century and throughout the Chateau there are unusual floral arrangements that keep me astounded with the variety each time I visit. If I only had the opportunity to visit one Chateau, this would definitely be the one! Small, unique and very beautiful with a captivating history about women!