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Château de Chenonceau

Château de Chenonceau is a French castle, situated on the River Cher, (in the commune of Chenonceaux) near Amboise, in Indre-et-Loire.

Château de Chenonceau History

Chenonceau was the castle of the lords of Marques originally, but in 1513 it was the property of Thomas Bohier, the treasurer of Louis XII.

He was the one who started rebuilding the castle. Later Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici added improvements to Chenonceau

Of the medieval building, only the keep on the right bank of the Cher, the ‘Tour des Marques’, survives, with 16th-century alterations. Bohier’s building, on a square plan with round, corbelled turrets at each corner, originally had three symmetrical elevations.

The fourth, the east front, is interrupted by the two unequal projections of the library and chapel. Each elevation is of three storeys and is three bays wide, the axial bays being wider, with larger areas of window, and topped by elaborate gables to their dormers.

The carved decoration, particularly the delicate Renaissance motifs on the entrance door to the north, is of very high quality.

Internally, the corps de logis is divided on the north–south axis by a vaulted passage, from which the four main rooms of the ground floor open. Also opening off this corridor, in the middle of the west side, is the main staircase, which is Italianate, with straight flights doubling back on themselves rather than a spiral in the French style.

The cage of the stair does not abut the external west wall, thus allowing communication between rooms to the north and south, eliminating the need for a massive projecting bay on the façade and allowing airy views of the river.

In 1536 Chenonceau passed to Francis I in settlement of Bohier’s debts; in 1547 his son Henry II gave it to Diane de Poitiers, who commissioned Philibert de L’Orme to build a covered bridge linking the château to the left bank of the Cher.

Only the five-arched bridge was built between 1556 and 1559, extending off-axis from the south front. After Catherine de’ Medici acquired Chenonceau in 1560, the bridge was topped by a two-storey gallery.

This was the start of an ambitious programme, soon abandoned, that would have made Château de Chenonceau into one of the largest houses in France.

Visit Château de Chenonceau

The Castle of Chenoceau is open daily. For opening hours and tickets prices consult the official website here:

Visit area and Facilities:

  • The Chateau's Interior and Gardens
  • Audio tours
  • Wax Museum
  • Picnic area
  • Restaurants and stores including: Snack bar, Tea house, the Orangerie and Souvenirs Shop

Loire Valley Castles near:

Chateau de Chambord,
Chateau de Brissac,
Chateau de Blois,
Chateau d Azay le Rideau,
Chateau d Anet

 Contact details:

Chateau de Chenonceau Map&Location

Chenonceau Castle Address: 37150 Chenonceaux, France. Use this map to get directions:

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 Chenonceau Castle Photos

Click on the photos to enlarge

Chateau de Chenonceau panorama - © Thierry
Chateau de Chenonceaux
Chateau de Chenonceau and gardens - © Arnaud Abélard
Chateau de Chenonceau gardens - © Arnaud Abélard
Chenonceau Interior photos by © Gilles Messian

photos of castle interior by © Gilles Messian
Chateau de Chenonceau © Arnaud Abélard

Chateau de Chenonceau aerial view © Panoramas