Drawing inspiration from a Venetian Palace, Catherine de Medici’ endowed Chenonceau with a special and unique architecture in the world. Widely known as the “château des Dames”, this Renaissance masterpiece is also unusually rich from a historical standpoint.
In of 1513, Katherine Briçonnet was in charge of its construction. The building was successively embellished by Diane of Poitiers, the king’s mistress and the initiator of its celebrated bridge, and by Catherine de Medici’, from whose imagination sprung the two ornate galleries spanning the river. It was King François I who had the Florentine queen betrothed to his son, Henry II. By marrying him, she graced Chenonceau and the court of France with Italian splendor.
Acquired when Diane of Poitiers fell into disgrace, this dreamlike dwelling remained her preferred residence in which she frequently stayed, offering her sons a plethora of memorable banquets. That much said, Catherine’s projects were ever more ambitious, as she aspired to transform her “castle on the water” into a grand royal court residence.
A genuine pinacotheca, Chenonceau is also distinguished by the wealth of its collections of paintings and tapestries by the most renowned 16 th , 17 th and 18 th -century European masters. The Medici is gallery is a curiosity cabinet that presents numerous treasures, along with documents helping the visitor to more precisely understand the steps and stages of building and the salient facts, the milestones in the history of the château.
In 2019, to celebrate “500 years of Renaissance” and pay tribute to Catherine de Medici’, the château opened for visitors an unusual attraction: “The Queen’s Apothecary”, the only space of its kind to be found in a Val de Loire monument. Following 3 years of restoration, it now showcases invaluable collections of jars, paintings, mortars…
While visiting Chenonceau, you will discover sumptuous historic gardens, a new contemporary garden, a labyrinth and a flower garden. With an area approximating 200 acres, the park hosts numerous bords and animals living freely. And since the château is a pet-friendly area, visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll with their four-legged companions.
In 2020: Initially created in the 18th century by Jean Jacques ROUSSEAU, the “Chenonceau Physics and Chemistry Cabinet” will open its doors to the public, and the summertime evening promenade will be enhanced by new illuminations.