After leaving Mont Saint-Michel, we drove east towards the very heart of France. The Loire Valley is know as the Château region of France where thousands of Châteaus can be found. It was hard to choose which one to visit! We finally settled on Château de Chenonceau because we liked how it was built over a river.
I mean….look at it?!?
From Rick Steves:
“Château de Chenonceau is a 16th-century Renaissance palace arching elegantly over the Cher River. Nicknamed the “château of the ladies,” it was the home — and work — of many famous women over the centuries. Most of the design decisions for the main building were made by the wife of the original owner, as he was so often away on the king’s business. A later resident, King Henry II’s mistress Diane de Poitiers, added a bridge across the river to access the hunting grounds. Diane enjoyed her lovely retreat until Henry was killed (pierced in a jousting tournament) and his vengeful wife, Catherine de Médici, unceremoniously kicked Diane out into the nearby château of Chaumont. Catherine added new gardens and rooms to the palace, including the three-story structure atop Diane’s bridge that has ever since given Chenonceau its unique river-spanning charm. Catherine died before completing her full vision, but not before turning her château into the local aristocracy’s the place to see and be seen.”
The grounds are so grand and the history is so rich.
The kids loved the hedge maze, and all the gardens.
We enjoyed lunch beside the moat and had really good weather. My only complaint is that the coffees are tiny.
Diane de Poitiers garden was so beautiful and a great place for the kids to spin and play before going inside the Château.
You can also rent boats to take on the river during the summer months!
We had tickets to tour the inside of the Château after lunch.
The interior was so interesting and beautiful. We all liked the servant areas best, especially the kitchen where they would unload food shipments directly from boats on the river.
After the tour we enjoyed the rest of the gardens.
They were all so beautiful and different from each other.
We really loved the flower and vegetable gardens.
But we particularly loved the Donkey Park as we were leaving for the day.
After exploring most of the day we were very happy to get back to the RV, relax and drive to our next destination, the Gouffre de Padirac.