Loire Valley Day Tour Itinerary #2 Chateau Descriptions
CHENONCEAU DE CHENONCEAU.
Early French Renaissance style marks its beginning in the 16th century, right when this castle was built. Many famous women from French history are attached to this castle. Among them Diane de Poitier, Louise of Lorraine, and arguably the most famous French women besides Joan of Arc, Catherine de Medici. There is a distinctive base which is from the original chateau which was actually more of a fortified mill than a castle.
Subsequent ladies of the manor had their hand in the making of the chateau as it stands today. In the upper level, you can still see the bedrooms of Gabrielle d'Estrees, Catherine de Medici and Louise of Lorraine. Don’t miss the kitchens, an ingenious creation of the time as the are basically at the water level. Food could be delivered by boat directly to the kitchen. Quite near the gardens of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici, stands "La Galerie des Dames de Chenonceau", in the former Royal stables. You can follow the life stories of these larger-than-life women. Here again, are some splendid gardens for a stroll.
The chateau is one of the first royal residences and was the home of Francois I. A first-rate example of Gothic and, due to later additions, Renaissance architecture. Amboise is known for its amazing furniture collection. It’s amazing to consider that Leonardo da Vinci lived there in his final years and is buried in the St. Hubert chapel. As far as a picture perfect moment, don’t miss the vista from the gardens which overlook the Loire Valley, framing one of the most famous panoramas in the area.
CHATEAU DE CHAMBORD
More than 400 years old, this gorgeous castle is a marvel to visit. Over 300 feet tall (more than 100 yards!), with 440 rooms, the chateau is incredibly large. The plan of the chateau is classic: a square residence flanked with round towers, meant to be a traditional keep. An exceptional double helix staircase rises around a central hollow column. Architectural researchers have come to agree Leonardo Da Vinci had some hand in its design, given its clean lines and precise, geometric use of space. Leonardo indeed was retained by Francois I at the time of Chambord's conception.
More Chambord Information
CHATEAU DE CHEVERNY
Built by Henri, Count of Cheverny, this chateau has remained in the same family since 1630. The chateau is a rich repository of furnishings and decoration which define the so-called “French Style”. The building is made from French materials of the finest quality, such as the white stone of Bourre, from a quarry dating to the 11th century. Certainly the most famous spectacle on view at the Chateau is the nightly feeding of the 80 hunting dogs kept at the castle for sport.
Cheverny belongs to the descendants of the Hurault family, well known in Blois from the 13th century. This family of financiers and officers has given distinguished service to five kings of France, including Jacques (Treasurer to Louis XII), Philippe (Chancellor to Henri III and subsequently Henri IV) and his son Henri, Count of Cheverny, the builder of the Chateau. An officer of King Louis XIII, Count Henri and his Countess Marguerite new chateau, inspired by the work of the best artists of the period. Cheverny's architect of Boyer of Blois and its painter and decorator Jean Monier had worked for Queen Marie de' Medici at the Chateau of Blois and the Luxembourg Palace in Paris. Cheverny was in the forefront velopment and can be said to have invented the French style in 1630-1640.
The Chateau, which is richly furnished, is still owned by the Hurault de Vibraye family, descendants of the original builders. Each succeeding generation has enhanced, maintained and preserved the beauty the Chateau of Count Henri, guided by their own taste and that of the period.