Friday, May 17, 2013

Chateau de Chenonceau of the Loire Valley

Welcome to Anita's France Link party!
Click above and travel to her blog to see the list of those playing
and, for the next week, you can visit any site
AND their petite tranche of France. 

The Loire Valley has over 300 castles amid quiet, historic villages. 
Called 'The Garden of France,' it is known for its bucolic beauty, historical castles and its wine. 
The area hosts several wine regions you may have heard of:
Muscadet, Sancerre, Pouilly Fume.
A few years ago, when we began our year off in Paris,
one of the first places we were told we must visit
was the Loire Valley.
And specifically, CHENONCEAU! 

Built along the River Cher sometime before its first documentation in the 11th century,
it is a historical storybook on French nobility. 

Once the site of an old mill,
it was designed by Philibert de l'Orme,
a French architect and master of French Renaissance.
At one time, while in royal favor, 
De l'Orme supervised the work of Fontainebleau and the Tuileries, among others. 

 Chateau de Chenonceau was bought by King Charles VIII of France in 1513,
then seized from an indebted heir by King Francis I
and upon his death, passed on to Henry II.
Henry made the chateau un cadeau to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers,

(via Wiki)

who fell in love with it, making it her own and supervising the installation 
of ample flower and vegetable gardens and an assortment of fruit trees.

She had the elegant arched bridge built, 
connecting the two sides of the river,
which became known as the Pont de Diane. 

Upon Henry II's wounding during a jousting accident in 1559,
which would eventually kill him,
his wife, Catherine de Medici, refused Diane access to the dying King,
though it is said he repeatedly called out for her.
And upon the King's death, Catherine refused to allow her to attend the funeral
and forced Diane out of her beloved Chenonceau and into the Chateau Chaumont 
where she lived only a few years.

Catherine, by the way, moved in. 

(Catherine de Medici via Wiki)


Join me for a quick peek inside Chenonceau. 


File:Château-de-chenonceau galerie 1er.JPG
(The Gallery via Wiki) 

The Gallery, which also served as ballroom and was built by Catherine in 1576,
sits over the Pont de Diane
and was dedicated in honor of Catherine's son, Henry III.

My favorites in any chateau are always the fireplaces...

(Diane de Poitiers bedroom fireplace via Wiki)

the kitchen...

And the bedroom... for a peek into their lives. 

The above was known as the Five Queens bedroom
for Catherine de Medici's two daughters and three daughters-in-law.

(Bedroom of Diane de Poitiers via Wiki)

When we returned to visit the following May,
sharing with visiting family,
it happened to be near Mother's Day
and every room was filled with blossoms for the moms.

Beautiful arrangements for a stunning setting.

During Catherine's stay, 
it became a place of many parties
and was the site of the first-ever fireworks display in France
for her son's ascension to the throne (Francis II). 

In the 1700's, Madame Louise Dupin
(also the grandmother of George Sand),
entertained figures of The Enlightenment
including Voltaire and Rousseau~
and at least one owner came to financial ruin 
by way of too many lavish and extravagant parties. 

Today it is the most visited chateau in France (next to Versaille)
and is owned by the Menier Family famous for chocolate. 

I have to agree that Chenonceau is a France Must-See
and even though our little virtual tour has been fun, 
it doesn't do justice to this remarkable place 
filled with the rooms and halls of past voices of kings, mistresses, 
jealous wives and party revelers from history. 

Remember to visit Anita's Castles Crowns and Cottages 
to enjoy so many other blogs on France this week. 

This week, enjoy La Vie Francaise.

(Photos copyright: Kirsten Steen
unless from wiki)


  1. My beautiful friend! GLORY BE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Your own photos here of Chenonceau and the other sites are just fabulous. I am so tickled that you are part of this, for I have "known" you now for five years. Your love for France is special to me, and I really appreciate your participation. VIVE LA FRANCE, and mille mercis for coming to visit today! Anita

  2. Beautiful! This is one of my favorite places to visit in the Loire Valley. The gardens are spectacular and the love story is beautiful.

  3. I'm sharing this link with a friend who loved this spot. As for me, it's a first and I can see why you -- and he -- love it. Gorgeous photos. Looking forward to the party, even though I'm not participating this time!

  4. Completely lovely...what a charming tour for Anita's party!
    And oh the flowers and plants! Beautiful. Loved my nice to meet you!

  5. Dear Kristen,
    Thank you so much for taking me along on this gorgeous tour of France.. You are such a delightful addition to Anita's party!

    Thank you so much for visiting Bebe, and I am so honored and pleased that you enjoy my little world.

  6. How lovely!!! and a treat to visit you here my dear! What a fun party.

    ~ Violet

  7. I am intrigued! Your visit has made my list of reasons to return grow longer!

  8. The garden of France is gorgeous, Kirsten. The flowers are vibrant with color. This looks like such a peaceful place to visit. And I love the bedrooms - they are so romantic and beautiful.


  9. You just gave me a big thrill with thses drop dead gorgeos pictures.Breath takeing for sure.
    Thank you so much for sharing.
    Marie Antionette

  10. How precious The Loyra, suddenly transported me to the long trips I made there. what a wonderful Tour, how much I am enjoying it.
    thank you very much


  11. Love seeing Chateau de Chenonceau through your lenses. Thank you for the historical details, so intriguing! And the fireplace is gorgeous, indeed! But the gardens are what amuses me! It has been a delight to read your comment on my Provencal setting! I just added to the vin d'orange recipe that I prefer unpeeled oranges. Thank you for that!

  12. Welcome in France...nice to see you to do this together...Anita is such a good friend to all of us...enjoy the weekend love

  13. Absolument magnifique !
    Je n'y suis jamais allée, vos photos me donnent tellement envie ...
    Merci pour ces images superbes.

  14. Hi Kirsten, I love this castle. It's always been my most romantic castle in the world in my mind. Thank you for featuring it in France post. :) Nice to meet you thru Anita. :)

  15. It's such a beautiful chateau, inside and outside...!

  16. So very gorgeous Kirsten. The chateau, the bridge the tapestry above Diane's bed, the drama, is there a book on this story in history!

    Come with me on my adventure in France.
    life, possibilities, grace
    a beautiful dream...

    Art by Karena

  17. Kirsten,
    What a lovely post, your photos are fabulous! I always wanted to go here, but never made it ~ merci for giving us a virtual visit!
    Anita's parties are so much fun, aren't they?!

  18. Dear, wonderful Kirsten,

    Your post is STUNNING! A hearty 'bravo' from a Loire Valley dweller who absolutely adores Chenonceau with its history of its two queens. The first time I visited it, shortly after moving to Tours, was just after Christmas. The floral decorations in each room were stunning and we were even treated to Renaissance music and singers in the great hall you so beautifully photographed.

    I'm so glad you had such a good time.

    Warmest wishes from your most recent follower.


  19. Wow, what a spectacular tour. I love the Loire valley. Thanks so much for the tour.

  20. I would love to visit the Loire Valley. Your photos and the commentary were so enjoyable. I especially liked that you included old photographs too. The flowers on Mother's Day had to be a tremendous treat.

  21. I loved reading of the History and the images are simply remarkable! I guess I can understand Catherine De Medici"s actions after the Kings death regarding his Mistress. Ah, such was the life of the Nobility.

  22. Hello Kristen, it's a pleasure to meet you. Anita's party is so much fun and a great way to explore and meet other bloggers. What a treat to see the Loire Valley. Your virtual is lovely. The love story is awesome. One can never get enough of the beauty from this amazing place. I am proudly your newest follower. Stop by and see our visit to France. xo Linda

  23. Isn't Chenonceau just wonderful Kirsten. I think the floral arrangements look stunning in such grand environs. I have never seen clematis used indoors to such great effect. I am hopping over from Anita's party to say hello and follow along.

  24. Such history and your photos are stunning!!! Thanks for sharing...and I am now following your lovely blog!!

  25. I love the Loire Valley and Chenonceau is my favorite place to visit. It is so romantic. Lovely photos.

    Have been a follower for a long time and always love to see your beautiful images.

  26. Hi Kirsten!

    I am pleased to meet you. I too, am from the Pacific Northwest!

    Your photography, and passion for French history is exceptional!

    I will be back for many more visits!

    Anita has opened a French version of Pandora's box, for which I am so grateful!

  27. Lovely to discover your blog and thanks for sharing the gorgeous post.
    Isn't the Loire Valley beautiful - we stayed at Chateau Bouvet Ladubay in Saumur and felt like a Princess.

    Happy week

  28. Thanks you for the wonderful tour of France.

    Beautiful collages.

  29. Bonjour Kirsten. Chenonceau is my favorite château in the Loire valley, so I was very happy to visit your blog today :-) "A castle built for a woman and by a woman," and it shows... Thank you for visiting me chez French Girl in Seattle. Come back any time. A bientôt, Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  30. OMG, this is a beautiful post! I am so happy to find you via Anita. You have done her quite proud, my lady. It is not often that people find the time and the way to produce such a splendid post. Very well done!

  31. What gorgeous images you have here. Your life and travels sound like quite the fabulous adventure. The flowers make me swoon.
    What a treat to meet you through Anita's party.
    Gorgeous blog and thank you for your kind comments on Stylemindchic.
    Cheers, Heather

  32. Beautiful photos. I especially love all of the flowers that they did for Mother's Day!

    Heidi @ hi-d's place

  33. Chateau de Chenonceau is amazing. I have never made it there in person but have always had a sneaking admiration for de Poitiers and de Medici. They were both formidable women. Thanks for the brilliant tour. It's a pleasure to meet you through Anita's party. Lovely blog.

  34. I will take the mantel, the flower arrangement, and the gardens of course! All making me tingle with pure glee! So glad you stopped by my blog!

  35. Chenonceau is my favorite chateau in France...from my very first visit in the 1980s. One of the things that enthralled me on my first visit were the magnificent huge hydrangea arrangements in the main hallway. I love seeing your photos and the photos of the historic chateau.

    I am now following on GCF because I thoroughly enjoy your writing and incredible photos of Paris. I've perused several older posts and plan to return time and again to view even more older posts along with your current ones.


  36. Thank you for the gorgeous vicarious tour, Kirsten. Your photos are beautiful and what an interesting history. xx

  37. What a wonderful write up. The effort to take the reader through the history of the Chateau! I've visited but didn't go into the details of the history. Thanks.


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