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,
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.
(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)
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)
unless from wiki)