Chateau de Chenonceau was built in 1513 by king Francois I’s treasurer, Thomas Bohier, with great help from his wife, Catherine Briconnet. It has been regarded as a castle that “floats on the air and water,” and the way it spans Cher river, a branch river of Loire River, has been described as an elegant swan resting its wings on Cher. Other than its beauty, this castle is made famous perhaps by king Henri II’s two women–Catherine de Medici and Dianne de Poitiers. Catherine de Medici was Henri II’s queen, but Henri II was succombed by his mistress–Dianne de Poitiers. Although Dianne de Poitiers was 20 years older than the king, the age did not reduce Dianne’s fairness, instead, she was portrayed as the moon goddess in countless paintings and statues. In 1547, Henri II gave Chenonceau to Dianne, but after Henri II died in 1559, Catherine de Medici forced Dianne to exchange Chenonceau for her Chateau de Chaumont. After Catherine de Medici moved in, she ordered to build another 2 floors on the bridge as seen today. In 1733, madame Louise Dupin was the owner of the castle, and due to her kindness and generosity, the castle was free from destruction during the French Revolution.
The entrance to the castle:
The castle seen from its garden:
The “bridge” part of the castle; it spans Cher river.
The interior of the castle: The portray on the left is Catherine de Medici.
The interior of the “bridge.” It was served as a hospital during World War I.
This is where Chaumont-sur-Loire locates:
Chateau de Chaumont was first built in 10th century as a fortress to defend Blois, but it was burned down in 1465 by Louis XI as a punishment to Pierre D’Amboise for rebelling against the royal power. However, it was restored by his descendents in 1510. Later on, king Henri II’s queen, Catherine de Medici, bought the castle after the king’s death in 1560. Catherine then made Dianne de Poitiers–the late king’s mistress–exchange Dianne’s Chateau de Chanonceau for Chateau de Chaumont, basically house-arresting Dianne in the castle. Due to that Chateau de Chaumont was for defence purpose, it never had proper gardens. Until 1884, the owner of the castle, Prince Amedee de Broglie hired Henri Duchene to create an English garden. In 1750, one of the most powerful and richest nobles, Jacques D’LeRay, bought the castle and protected the castle during the French Revolution. In 1938, the castle became France’s property.
This is the front of the castle. It stands on the cliff and the river is on the back.
Interior of the castle:
Porcupine, the symbol of Louis XII.
This is where Chateau d’Amboise locates:
Chateau d’Amboise was built during Roman time with gothic architectural style and had been a typical fortress of Loire riverbank. Charles VIII rebuilt the castle in 15th century before he moved in with his wife. King Francois I, who was a patron of Renaissance arts, moved in and invited Leonardo Da Vinci to Amboise in 1516. Thus Da Vinci brought some of his famous paintings including “Mona Lisa” to reside in “Clos Luce” near Chateau d’Amboise and received generous hospitality and salary. It is also believed that Da Vinci started to design Chateau de Chambord at this time. Francois I also renovated the castle so it is actually a combination of gothic and Renaissance styles as seen now. After Da Vinci passed away in 1519, he was interred in the church of Chateau d’Amboise as he wished. The castle was damaged during the French Revolution; what is seen today is what has been left.
The whole castle is surrounded by the walls that extend widely and faces the river with modern residential area built against it.
The interior of the castle:
Gothic style windows:
Loire river seen from top of the castle:
The church of Chateau d’Amboise:
Da Vinci rests in peace here…
This is Chateau de Blois, locating in the center of Blois. It was also where Joan of Arc received bless from the archbishop in 1429 before she led the army to Orleans. However, I did not go in. I came to Blois for dinner and stayed for the night only. If I had more time, I would take a look at this castle and the town. There was some festival going on in the town on the day I arrived–people were gathered in a plaza and there was music performance.