Château de Chenonceau is the most romantic castle and most popular monument to see in the Loire region of France. Château de Chenonceau is the most popular and arguably the most recognizable chateau in the Loire Valley. This incredibly romantic Renaissance chateau celebrated its 500th anniversary in 2013. Château de Chenonceau is most famous for it gallery that spans the River Cher. The castle is fairly small but contains important art works – especially old masters’ paintings and tapestries – but also valuable furniture, statues, and lavish wall furnishing and decorated ceilings. The formal gardens created by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici are maintained. Château de Chenonceau can get crowded but this former royal residence is still very much worth visiting.
Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley in France
Romantic Château de Chenonceau with its double-story gallery spanning the Cher River celebrated its 500thanniversary during 2013. This Gothic-Renaissance masterpiece is the most-visited chateau in France after the Palace of Versailles. This most romantic of chateaux is also of historic significance. Like many other chateaux in the Loire Valley, Chenonceau served as royal residence during the 16th century but unlike others, it served as residence – in succession – to both the mistress (Diane de Poitiers) and wife (Catherine de Medici) of French King Henri II. Château de Chenonceau was of particular importance after the death of Henri II. From here, Catherine at times ruled France as regent and principle advisor for three of her sons who were the last Valois kings of France.
Seeing Château de Chenonceau
Château de Chenonceau is in a beautifully restored condition with both the castle and formal gardens open to visitors. The interior can be visited without a guided tour. Visitors can see the four floors of the main palace including the kitchens in the cellars, the main reception rooms, several bedrooms, and the chapel. These rooms have lavishly decorated interiors with numerous important tapestries, old masters paintings, and valuable furniture. The large fresh flower arrangements in most rooms also impress. The famous gallery, in contrast, is mostly bare. It offers fine views of the River Cher and the formal gardens. In addition to the formal gardens of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici, visitors can also stroll through the rest of the park, forest, and a maze based on the original 16th century design.
Visiting Château de Chenonceau
Château de Chenonceau is open daily, year round including public holidays. Opening hours vary by season but are as a minimum 9 am to 5 pm. Château de Chenonceau is best avoided in summer, school holidays and long weekends but even during the high season the castle can be enjoyed if visiting outside the peak hours. Tickets are available at the chateau of online – specific reservations are not necessary. Getting to Château de Chenonceau is easiest by car but public transportation and day-trip tours are also available.