Friday, October 12, 2012

Chateau Chenonceau - France

Chateau Chenonceau was my second favorite chateau on trip (Versailles wins first place). It's just so beautiful, with a fairy tale design, elegant proportions, and exquisite details. Its most unusual feature is its romantic location extending across the River Cler.


It's called the Ladies' Chateau because it was owned and updated by a series of women from 1547 through 1972.  King Henry II first seized the castle for unpaid debts and gave it to his mistress Diane de Poitiers.  When he died, his wife Catherine de Medici took it back and governed France as a regent from here.  She spent lavishly on updating the chateau and on extravagant nighttime parties that included the first fireworks ever seen in France.

Compared to the massive Chateau Chambord, the rooms here are on a more human scale, and sized and furnished for gracious living and entertaining.  All the rooms have fabulous views of the river and the adjacent formal gardens. The flower garden grows all the flowers for the chateau.  I loved the huge, fragrant flower arrangements in each room; they were charming and really brought the chateau to life.


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