Château de Chenonceau

Château de Chenonceau

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The Château de Chenonceau (ʃa.to də ʃə.nɔ̃.so) is a manor house
Manor house
A manor house is a country house that historically formed the administrative centre of a manor, the lowest unit of territorial organisation in the feudal system in Europe. The term is applied to country houses that belonged to the gentry and other grand stately homes...

 near the small village of Chenonceaux
Chenonceaux
Chenonceaux is a commune in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France.It is situated in the Loire Valley, about 26 km east of Tours...

, in the Indre-et-Loire
Indre-et-Loire
Indre-et-Loire is a department in west-central France named after the Indre and the Loire rivers.-History:Indre-et-Loire is one of the original 83 départements created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790...

 département of the Loire Valley
Loire Valley
The Loire Valley , spanning , is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. Its area comprises approximately . It is referred to as the Cradle of the French Language, and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards, and artichoke, asparagus, and...

 in France. It was built on the site of an old mill on the River Cher
Cher River
The Cher is a river in central France, left tributary to the river Loire. Its source is in the Creuse département, north-east of Crocq. It joins the river Loire in Villandry, west of Tours....

, sometime before its first mention in writing in the 11th century. The current manor was designed by the French Renaissance architect Philibert Delorme.

History


The original second edition manor was torched in 1411 to punish owner Jean Marques for an act of sedition
Sedition
In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent to lawful authority. Sedition may include any...

. He rebuilt a castle and fortified mill
Watermill
A watermill is a structure that uses a water wheel or turbine to drive a mechanical process such as flour, lumber or textile production, or metal shaping .- History :...

 on the site in the 1430s. Subsequently, his indebted heir Pierre Marques sold the castle to Thomas Bohier, Chamberlain for King Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

 in 1513. Bohier destroyed the existing castle and built an entirely new residence between 1515 and 1521; the work was sometimes overseen by his wife Katherine Briçonnet, who delighted in hosting French nobility, including King Francis I
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

 on two occasions.

Eventually, the château was seized from Bohier's son by King Francis I of France
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

 for unpaid debts to the Crown; after Francis' death in 1547, Henry II
Henry II of France
Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559.-Early years:Henry was born in the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, the son of Francis I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany .His father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by his sworn enemy,...

 offered the château as a gift to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers
Diane de Poitiers
Diane de Poitiers was a French noblewoman and a prominent courtier at the courts of kings Francis I and his son, Henry II of France. She became notorious as the latter's favourite mistress...

, who became fervently attached to the château along the river. She would have the arched bridge constructed, joining the château to its opposite bank. She then oversaw the planting of extensive flower and vegetable gardens along with a variety of fruit trees. Set along the banks of the river, but buttressed from flooding by stone terraces, the exquisite gardens were laid out in four triangles.

Diane de Poitiers was the unquestioned mistress of the castle, but ownership remained with the crown until 1555, when years of delicate legal maneuvers finally yielded possession to her. However, after King Henry II died in 1559, his strong-willed widow and regent Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France....

 had Diane expelled. Because the estate no longer belonged to the crown, she could not seize it outright, but forced Diane to exchange it for the Château Chaumont. Queen Catherine then made Chenonceau her own favorite residence, adding a new series of gardens.

As Regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 of France, Catherine would spend a fortune on the château and on spectacular nighttime parties. In 1560, the first ever fireworks display seen in France took place during the celebrations marking the ascension to the throne of Catherine's son Francis II
Francis II of France
Francis II was aged 15 when he succeeded to the throne of France after the accidental death of his father, King Henry II, in 1559. He reigned for 18 months before he died in December 1560...

. The grand gallery, which extended along the existing bridge to cross the entire river, was dedicated in 1577.

On Catherine's death in 1589 the château went to her daughter-in-law, Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont
Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont
Louise of Lorraine was a member of the House of Lorraine who became Queen consort of France from 1575 until 1589...

, wife of King Henry III
Henry III of France
Henry III was King of France from 1574 to 1589. As Henry of Valois, he was the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the dual titles of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.-Childhood:Henry was born at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau,...

. At Chenonceau Louise was told of her husband's assassination and she fell into a state of depression, spending the remainder of her days wandering aimlessly along the château's vast corridors dressed in mourning clothes amidst somber black tapestries
Tapestry
Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length and those parallel to the width ; the warp threads are set up under tension on a...

 stitched with skulls and crossbones.

Another mistress took over in 1624, when Gabrielle d'Estrées
Gabrielle d'Estrées
Gabrielle d'Estrées, Duchess of Beaufort and Verneuil, Marchioness of Monceaux was a French mistress of King Henry IV of France, born at either the Château de la Bourdaisière in Montlouis-sur-Loire, in Touraine, or at the château de Cœuvres, in Picardy....

, the favourite
Favourite
A favourite , or favorite , was the intimate companion of a ruler or other important person. In medieval and Early Modern Europe, among other times and places, the term is used of individuals delegated significant political power by a ruler...

 of King Henry IV
Henry IV of France
Henry IV , Henri-Quatre, was King of France from 1589 to 1610 and King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France....

, inhabited the castle. After that, it was owned by Louise's heir César of Vendôme
César de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme
César de Bourbon, Légitimé de France , Duke of Vendôme, was the son of Henry IV of France and his mistress Gabrielle d'Estrées. Sometimes simply known as César de Vendôme. Through his daughter, Élisabeth de Bourbon, César was a great-great-great-grandfather of Louis XV of France, merging thereafter...

 and his wife, Françoise of Lorraine, Duchess of Vendôme, and passed quietly down the Valois line of inheritance, alternately inhabited and abandoned for more than a hundred years.

Château de Chenonceau was bought by the Duke of Bourbon
Duke of Bourbon
Duke of Bourbon is a title in the peerage of France. It was created in the first half of the 14th century for the eldest son of Robert of France, Count of Clermont and Beatrice of Burgundy, heiress of the lordship of Bourbon...

 in 1720. Little by little, he sold off all of the castle's contents. Many of the fine statues ended up at Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

. The estate itself was finally sold to a squire named Claude Dupin.

Claude's wife (daughter of financier Samuel Bernard and grandmother of George Sand
George Sand
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant , best known by her pseudonym George Sand , was a French novelist and memoirist.-Life:...

), Madame Louise Dupin, brought life back to the castle by entertaining the leaders of The Enlightenment: Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

, Montesquieu
Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu
Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu , generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French social commentator and political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment...

, Buffon
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon was a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and encyclopedic author.His works influenced the next two generations of naturalists, including Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Georges Cuvier...

, Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle
Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle
Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle , also called Bernard Le Bouyer de Fontenelle, was a French author.Fontenelle was born in Rouen, France and died in Paris just one month before his 100th birthday. His mother was the sister of great French dramatists Pierre and Thomas Corneille...

, Pierre de Marivaux
Pierre de Marivaux
Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux , commonly referred to as Marivaux, was a French novelist and dramatist....

, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of 18th-century Romanticism. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern political, sociological and educational thought.His novel Émile: or, On Education is a treatise...

. She saved the château from destruction during the French Revolution, preserving it from being destroyed by the Revolutionary Guard because it was essential to travel and commerce, being the only bridge across the river for many miles. She is said to be the one who changed the spelling of the Château (from Chenonceaux to Chenonceau) to please the villagers during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

. She dropped the "x" at the end of the Château's name to differentiate what was a symbol of royalty from the Republic. Although no official sources have been found to support this legend, the Château has been since referred to and accepted as Chenonceau.
In 1864, Daniel Wilson, a Scotsman who had made a fortune installing gaslights throughout Paris, bought the château for his daughter. In the tradition of Catherine de' Medici, she would spend a fortune on elaborate parties to such an extent that her finances were depleted and the château was seized and sold to José-Emilio Terry, a Cuban millionaire, in 1891. Terry sold it in 1896 to a family member, Francisco Terry, and in 1913, the Menier family
Menier family
The Menier family of Noisiel, France, was a prominent family of chocolatiers who began as pharmaceutical manufacturers in Paris in 1816. They would build a highly successful enterprise, expanding to London, England, and New York City, New York, USA. The Menier Chocolate Co. remained in the family...

, famous for their chocolate
Chocolate
Chocolate is a raw or processed food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC...

s, bought the château and still own it to this day.

During World War I the gallery was used as a hospital ward; during the Second War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 it was a means of escaping from the Nazi
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 occupied zone on one side of the River Cher to the "free" zone on the opposite bank.

In 1951, the Menier family entrusted the château's restoration to Bernard Voisin, who brought the dilapidated structure and the gardens (ravaged in the Cher River
Cher River
The Cher is a river in central France, left tributary to the river Loire. Its source is in the Creuse département, north-east of Crocq. It joins the river Loire in Villandry, west of Tours....

 flood in 1940) back to a reflection of its former glory.

An architectural mixture of late Gothic
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 and early Renaissance
Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance...

, Château de Chenonceau and its gardens are open to the public. Other than the Royal Palace of Versailles
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles , or simply Versailles, is a royal château in Versailles in the Île-de-France region of France. In French it is the Château de Versailles....

, Chenonceau is the most visited château in France.

The château is classified as a Monument historique
Monument historique
A monument historique is a National Heritage Site of France. It also refers to a state procedure in France by which national heritage protection is extended to a building or a specific part of a building, a collection of buildings, or gardens, bridges, and other structures, because of their...

since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture.

The forecourt and the Marques tower



In rebuilding the Chenonceau château in the 16th century, Thomas Bohier razed the castle-keep and the fortified mill of the Marques family, erecting the new château upon the piers of the former mill and keeping only the ancient donjon: The Marques Tower, which he transformed in Renaissance style. The forecourt reproduces the layout of the former medieval castle demarcated by the moats. Next to the tower, there is also a well decorated with a chimaera
Chimaera
Chimaeras are cartilaginous fish in the order Chimaeriformes, known informally as ghost sharks, ratfish , spookfish , or rabbitfishes...

 and an eagle - the emblem of the Marques family.

The monumental entrance, dating from the period of Francis I, is made from sculpted and painted wood. It has: on the left, the coat of arms of Thomas Bohier, on the right those of his wife Katherine Briçonnet - the builders of Chenonceau - topped by the salamander of Francis I and the inscription "François, by the grace of God, King of France and Claude, Queen of the French".

The Guard's room


Originally this room was used by armed men, where they took time off their feet to rest.

Thomas Bohier's arms decorate the 16th century chimney, and on the 16th century oak door, beneath the figures of their patron saints (Saint Catherine
Catherine of Alexandria
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, also known as Saint Catherine of the Wheel and The Great Martyr Saint Catherine is, according to tradition, a Christian saint and virgin, who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the pagan emperor Maxentius...

 and Saint Thomas
Thomas the Apostle
Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is best known for questioning Jesus' resurrection when first told of it, then proclaiming "My Lord and my God" on seeing Jesus in . He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman...

), the motto of Thomas Bohier and Catherine Briçonnet: "S'il vient à point, me souviendra) meaning: "If I manage to build Chenonceau, I will be remembered".

On the walls, a suite of 16th century Flemish tapestries
Tapestry
Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length and those parallel to the width ; the warp threads are set up under tension on a...

 represents scenes from castle life, a request for marriage and a hunt. The chests are Gothic
Gothic art
Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical...

 and Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

. During the 16th century they contained silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

ware, crockery and tapestries with which the Court moved from one residence to another.

The ceiling, with exposed joist
Joist
A joist, in architecture and engineering, is one of the horizontal supporting members that run from wall to wall, wall to beam, or beam to beam to support a ceiling, roof, or floor. It may be made of wood, steel, or concrete. Typically, a beam is bigger than, and is thus distinguished from, a joist...

s, has an intertwining "H" and "C" for Henry II.
Henry II of France
Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559.-Early years:Henry was born in the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, the son of Francis I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany .His father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by his sworn enemy,...

 and Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France....

. However, to show his love for Diane de Poitiers
Diane de Poitiers
Diane de Poitiers was a French noblewoman and a prominent courtier at the courts of kings Francis I and his son, Henry II of France. She became notorious as the latter's favourite mistress...

, Henry had the ceiling created to look like a "D" and an "H". On the floor are the remains of 16th century majolica
Maiolica
Maiolica is Italian tin-glazed pottery dating from the Renaissance. It is decorated in bright colours on a white background, frequently depicting historical and legendary scenes.-Name:...

.

The Chapelle



From the Guards' Room, the Chapel can be reached through a door topped with a Statue of the Virgin. The leaves of this oak door represent Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 and Saint Thomas, and repeat the words of the Gospel according to Saint John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 "Lay your finger here" "You are my Lord and my God" .

The original windows in this room were destroyed by a bombing in 1944; the modern stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

 windows were made by the master glassworker Max Ingrand in 1954. In the loggia
Loggia
Loggia is the name given to an architectural feature, originally of Minoan design. They are often a gallery or corridor at ground level, sometimes higher, on the facade of a building and open to the air on one side, where it is supported by columns or pierced openings in the wall...

 on the right rests a Virgin and Child made from carrara marble by Mino da Fiesole
Mino da Fiesole
Mino da Fiesole , also known as Mino di Giovanni, was an Italian sculptor from Poppi, Tuscany. He is noted for his portrait busts.-Career:...

. Dominating the nave, the royal gallery where the queens
Queen consort
A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her husband's rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant's political and military powers. Most queens in history were queens consort...

 attended Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 shows the date 1521.

To the right of the altar
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

 is a finely carved credence table
Credence table
A Credence table is a small side table in the sanctuary of a Christian church which is used in the celebration of the Eucharist. Etymology: from latin credens, -entis, believer)....

 which is decorated with the Bohier motto.

Inscriptions were left upon the walls of the chapel by Mary, Queen of Scots' Scottish guards: on the right, "Man's anger does not accomplish God's Justice" (dated 1543) and "Do not let yourself be won over by Evil" (dated 1546).

On the walls are several paintings with religious subjects: The Virgin in a blue veil by Il Sassoferrato
Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato
Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato , also known as Giovanni Battista Salvi, was an Italian Baroque painter. He is often referred to only by the town of his birthplace , as was customary in his time, and for example seen with da Vinci and Caravaggio.-Biography:The details of Giovanni Battista...

, Jesus preaching before Ferdinand and Isabella by Alonso Cano, Saint Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua
Anthony of Padua or Anthony of Lisbon, O.F.M., was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Though he died in Padua, Italy, he was born to a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, which is where he was raised...

by Murillo
Bartolomé Estéban Murillo
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was a Spanish Baroque painter. Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo also produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children...

, and Assumption
Assumption of Mary
According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life...

by Jouvenet
Jean Jouvenet
Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet was a French painter, especially of religious subjects.He was born into an artistic family in Rouen...

.

The chapel was saved during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 by Madame Dupin, who had the idea of turning it into a wood store.

Diane de Poitiers' bedroom



The room used by Diane de Poitiers
Diane de Poitiers
Diane de Poitiers was a French noblewoman and a prominent courtier at the courts of kings Francis I and his son, Henry II of France. She became notorious as the latter's favourite mistress...

, mistress of Henry II, has a fireplace by Jean Goujon
Jean Goujon
Jean Goujon was a French Renaissance sculptor and architect.-Biography:His early life is little known; he was likely born in Normandy and may have traveled in Italy...

, a French sculptor of the Fontainebleau School, which bears the initials of Henry II and Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France....

: interlaced Hs and Cs that could be considered as forming the D of "Diane". The coffered ceiling
Coffer
A coffer in architecture, is a sunken panel in the shape of a square, rectangle, or octagon in a ceiling, soffit or vault...

  also contains these initials.

The four-poster bed dates from the early 17th century and the Henry II armchairs are covered with cordovan leather. Over the fireplace is a 19th century portrait of Catherine de' Medici by Sauvage
Sauvage
Sauvage, French for savage may refer to:as a surname:* Adrien Sauvage , an English fashion designer, director and photographer of Ghanaian desent* Catherine Sauvage , a French singer and actress...

.

Two 16th century Flanders tapestries, of considerable size, portray :

- The triumph of Strength, riding on a chariot drawn by two lions, and surrounded by scenes from the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

.
The sentence in Latin running along the upper border can be translated as "He who loves the gifts of heaven with all his heart, does not shrink from deeds that Piety dictates".

- The triumph of Charity, seen on a chariot, holding a heart in her hand and pointing to the sun ; she is surrounded by biblical episodes. The Latin inscription here can be translated as : "He who shows strength of heart in the face of danger, receives Salvation as a reward at his time of death".

To the left of the window, Virgin with child by Murillo.

To the right of the fireplace, there is a painting of the 18th century Italian school : Christ stripped of his clothes, by Francisco Ribalta
Francisco Ribalta
Francesc Ribalta , also known as Francisco Ribaltá or de Ribalta, was a Spanish painter of the Baroque period, mostly of religious subjects.He was born in Solsona, Lleida...

, Jusepe de Ribera's master. Below this painting stands a bookcase holding the archives of Chenonceau ; one of the volumes, to be seen the showcase, bears the signatures of Thomas Bohier and Diane de Poitiers.

Green study


Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France....

, who became Regent of the kingdom during the minority of King Charles IX
Charles IX of France
Charles IX was King of France, ruling from 1560 until his death. His reign was dominated by the Wars of Religion. He is best known as king at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.-Childhood:...

, ruled France from the study at Chenonceau. On the 16th century ceiling in its original state, you can make out two intertwining "C"s, and two 16th century Italian cabinets
Cabinet (furniture)
A cabinet is usually a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors or drawers for storing miscellaneous items. Some cabinets stand alone while others are built into a wall or are attached to it like a medicine cabinet. Cabinets are typically made of wood or, now increasingly, of synthetic...

 surround the door.

The exceptional 16th century Brussels tapestry known as "To the birthwort", both Gothic
Gothic art
Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical...

 and Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

, is inspired by the discovery of the Americas, and their fauna and flora: it contains Peruvian silver pheasant
Pheasant
Pheasants refer to some members of the Phasianinae subfamily of Phasianidae in the order Galliformes.Pheasants are characterised by strong sexual dimorphism, males being highly ornate with bright colours and adornments such as wattles and long tails. Males are usually larger than females and have...

s, pineapple
Pineapple
Pineapple is the common name for a tropical plant and its edible fruit, which is actually a multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries. It was given the name pineapple due to its resemblance to a pine cone. The pineapple is by far the most economically important plant in the Bromeliaceae...

s, orchids, pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

s, animals and vegetables which until then were unknown in Europe. Its original green colour has been turning to blue with age.

On the walls, a collection of paintings of which the most important are:
  • Tintoretto
    Tintoretto
    Tintoretto , real name Jacopo Comin, was a Venetian painter and a notable exponent of the Renaissance school. For his phenomenal energy in painting he was termed Il Furioso...

     The Queen of Sheba and «Portrait of a Doge
  • Jacob Jordaens
    Jacob Jordaens
    Jacob Jordaens was one of three Flemish Baroque painters, along with Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, to bring prestige to the Antwerp school of painting. Unlike those contemporaries he never traveled abroad to study Italian painting, and his career is marked by an indifference to their...

     
    Ivory Catchfly
  • Hendrik Goltzius
    Hendrik Goltzius
    Hendrik Goltzius , was a Dutch printmaker, draftsman, and painter. He was the leading Dutch engraver of the early Baroque period, or Northern Mannerism, noted for his sophisticated technique and the "exuberance" of his compositions. According to A...

     
    Samson and the Lion
  • Jean Jouvenet
    Jean Jouvenet
    Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet was a French painter, especially of religious subjects.He was born into an artistic family in Rouen...

     
    Jesus chasing the merchants from the Temple
  • Bartholomeus Spranger
    Bartholomeus Spranger
    Bartholomeus Spranger was a Flemish Northern Mannerist painter, draughtsman, and etcher. He was born in Antwerp in the Habsburg Netherlands .-Biography:...

     
    Allegorical Scene painted on metal
  • Paolo Veronese
    Paolo Veronese
    Paolo Veronese was an Italian painter of the Renaissance in Venice, famous for paintings such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi...

     
    Study of a woman's head
  • Nicolas Poussin
    Nicolas Poussin
    Nicolas Poussin was a French painter in the classical style. His work predominantly features clarity, logic, and order, and favors line over color. His work serves as an alternative to the dominant Baroque style of the 17th century...

     
    The flight to Egypt
  • Anthony van Dyck
    Anthony van Dyck
    Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next...

     
    Child with Fruits

Library



The small room, which used to be Catherine de' Medici's, has a magnificent view of the Cher River and Diane's Garden.

The Italian style oak coffer ceiling dating from 1525, with small hanging keys, is one of the first of this type known in France. It has the initials of the Château's builder's T.B.K. for Thomas Bohier and Katherine Briçonnet.

Above the door is the Holy Family by Andrea Del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori , his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci,...

, and on both sides:
  • Scenes from the life of Saint Benedict by Jacopo Bassano
    Jacopo Bassano
    Jacopo Bassano , known also as Jacopo dal Ponte, was an Italian painter who was born and died in Bassano del Grappa near Venice, from which he adopted the name.- Life :...

  • A Martyr by Antonio da Correggio
    Antonio da Correggio
    Antonio Allegri da Correggio , usually known as Correggio, was the foremost painter of the Parma school of the Italian Renaissance, who was responsible for some of the most vigorous and sensuous works of the 16th century...

  • Héliodore by Jean Jouvenet
    Jean Jouvenet
    Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet was a French painter, especially of religious subjects.He was born into an artistic family in Rouen...



Two medallions Hébé and Ganymède, the cupbearers of the Gods, relieved near Olympia are of the 17th century French School.

The Gallery


From Diane de Poitiers' bedroom, a small passage returns to the Gallery.

In 1576, according to the plans of Philibert de l'Orme
Philibert de l'Orme
Philibert DeLorme was a French architect, one of the great masters of the French Renaissance.He was born at Lyon, the son of Jean Delorme, a master mason. At an early age Philibert was sent to Italy to study and was employed there by Pope Paul III...

, Catherine de' Medici built a magnificent ballroom gallery upon the bridge of Diane de Poitiers. It is sixty metres long, six metres wide, lit by eighteen windows, with a sandy chalk tiled and slate floor and exposed joist ceiling.

It was inaugurated in 1577 during festivities hosted by Catherine de' Medici in honour of her son Henry III
Henry III of France
Henry III was King of France from 1574 to 1589. As Henry of Valois, he was the first elected monarch of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the dual titles of King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania from 1573 to 1575.-Childhood:Henry was born at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau,...

.

Each end holds a very beautiful Renaissance chimney, of which the one surrounding the Southern door (which leads to the left bank of the Cher) is only decorative.

The medallions on the walls were added in the 18th century and represent famous people.

During the First World War, Monsieur Gaston Menier, owner of Chenonceau, installed at his own expense a hospital whose different services occupied all of the Château's rooms.

During the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, many people took advantage of the privileged location of the Gallery, whose Southern door provided access to the Free zone, whilst the Château's entrance was in the occupied zone.

The Hall


The hall is covered with a series of rib vault
Rib vault
The intersection of two or three barrel vaults produces a rib vault or ribbed vault when they are edged with an armature of piped masonry often carved in decorative patterns; compare groin vault, an older form of vault construction...

s whose keystones, detached from each other, form a broken line. The baskets are decorated with foliage, roses, cherubs
CHERUBS
CHERUBS is a Non-Profit Organization. It was founded in February, 1995 for families of children born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia, a severe and often lethal birth defect. It was founded and currently led by Dawn M...

, chimeras
Gargoyle
In architecture, a gargoyle is a carved stone grotesque, usually made of granite, with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between...

, and cornucopia
Cornucopia
The cornucopia or horn of plenty is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers, nuts, other edibles, or wealth in some form...

.
Made in 1515, it is one of the most beautiful examples of decorative sculpting from the French Renaissance
French Renaissance
French Renaissance is a recent term used to describe a cultural and artistic movement in France from the late 15th century to the early 17th century. It is associated with the pan-European Renaissance that many cultural historians believe originated in northern Italy in the fourteenth century...

 period.

At the entrance, above the doors, two recesses house the statues of Saint John the Baptist, patron saint of Chenonceau and Italian Masdone in the style of Luca della Robbia
Luca della Robbia
Luca della Robbia was an Italian sculptor from Florence, noted for his terra-cotta roundels.Luca Della Robbia developed a pottery glaze that made his creations more durable in the outdoors and thus suitable for use on the exterior of buildings. His work is noted for its charm rather than the drama...

.

Kitchens


Chenonceau's kitchens are located in the huge bases which form the first two piers sitting on the bed of the river Cher
Cher River
The Cher is a river in central France, left tributary to the river Loire. Its source is in the Creuse département, north-east of Crocq. It joins the river Loire in Villandry, west of Tours....

. A bridge crosses from one pier to the other, leading to the kitchen itself. A platform where boats with supplies would draw alongside is, according to the legend, called Diane's bath.

The pantry is a low room with two intersecting vaults. Its 16th century chimney is the Château's largest, next to the bread oven.

The pantry serves:
  • The Dining room: reserved for Château staff.
  • The Butchery: in which you can still see the hooks for hanging game and the blocks for cutting it up.
  • The Larder.


During the First World War, the Renaissance Kitchens were fitted with the modern equipment that was needed for the Château to be transformed into a hospital.


Francis I's bedroom


This room has a beautiful Renaissance chimney, and on the mantelpiece is the motto of Thomas Bohier - "S'il vient à point, me souviendra" (If the building is finished, it will preserve the memory of the man who built it) - which echoes his coat of arms above the door.

The furniture consists of three 15th century French credence tables and a 16th century Italian cabinet, exceptional with its mother-of-pearl and fountain-pen engraved ivory incrustations, a wedding present offered to Francis II and Mary, Queen of Scots.

On the wall hangs a portrait of Diane de Poitiers as Diane the Huntress, by Francesco Primaticcio
Francesco Primaticcio
Francesco Primaticcio was an Italian Mannerist painter, architect and sculptor who spent most of his career in France.-Biography:...

, a painter of the Fontainebleau School. The portrait was painted at Chenonceau in 1556; its frame bears the arms of Diane de Poitiers, duchess of Étampes
Étampes
Étampes is a commune in the metropolitan area of Paris, France. It is located south-southwest from the center of Paris . Étampes is a sub-prefecture of the Essonne department....

.

On both sides are paintings by Mirevelt, Ravenstein
Ravenstein
-Places:*Ravenstein, Germany in the district Neckar-Odenwald, Baden-Württemberg*Ravenstein, Netherlands in Oss, North Brabant-People:*Johann von Ravenstein a Lieutenant in World War I and Lieutenant general in the Wehrmacht during World War II...

, and a self-portrait by Van Dyck
Anthony van Dyck
Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next...

. Next to it is a large portrait of Gabrielle d'Estrées
Gabrielle d'Estrées
Gabrielle d'Estrées, Duchess of Beaufort and Verneuil, Marchioness of Monceaux was a French mistress of King Henry IV of France, born at either the Château de la Bourdaisière in Montlouis-sur-Loire, in Touraine, or at the château de Cœuvres, in Picardy....

 as the huntress Diana by Ambroise Dubois
Ambroise Dubois
Ambroise Dubois , was a Flemish-born French painter.Dubois was a painter of the second School of Fontainebleau. His influences were Niccolò dell'Abbate and Francesco Primaticcio. Dubois painted primarily portraits and mythological scenes.-References:...

. Surrounding the window is Archimedes
Archimedes
Archimedes of Syracuse was a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. Although few details of his life are known, he is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. Among his advances in physics are the foundations of hydrostatics, statics and an...

by Francisco Zurbarán
Francisco Zurbarán
Francisco de Zurbarán was a Spanish painter. He is known primarily for his religious paintings depicting monks, nuns, and martyrs, and for his still-lifes...

, and Two Bishops of the 17th century German school
German School
*German School of Athens*German School of Guayaquil*German School of Lisbon*German School of Manila*German School of Milan*German School New York*German School of San Salvador*German School Seoul International*German School Washington, D.C....

. To the right of the chimney, The Three Graces by Jean-Baptiste van Loo
Jean-Baptiste van Loo
Jean-Baptiste van Loo was a French subject and portrait painter.-Biography:He was born in Aix-en-Provence, and was instructed in art by his father Louis-Abraham van Loo, son of Jacob van Loo...

 represents the "Mesdemoiselles" from Nesle, three sisters who were successive favourites of King Louis XV
Louis XV of France
Louis XV was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1 September 1715 until his death. He succeeded his great-grandfather at the age of five, his first cousin Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, served as Regent of the kingdom until Louis's majority in 1723...

: Madame de Châteauroux, Vintimille, Mailly.

Louis XIV living room


In memory of the visit he made to Chenonceau on July 14, 1650, Louis XIV
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

  much later offered his uncle the duc de Vendôme
César de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme
César de Bourbon, Légitimé de France , Duke of Vendôme, was the son of Henry IV of France and his mistress Gabrielle d'Estrées. Sometimes simply known as César de Vendôme. Through his daughter, Élisabeth de Bourbon, César was a great-great-great-grandfather of Louis XV of France, merging thereafter...

 his portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud
Hyacinthe Rigaud
Hyacinthe Rigaud was a French baroque painter of Catalan origin whose career was based in Paris.He is renowned for his portrait paintings of Louis XIV, the royalty and nobility of Europe, and members of their courts and considered one of the most notable French portraitists of the classical period...

, with an extraordinary frame by Lepautre, made up of only four huge pieces of wood - as well as the furniture covered in Aubusson tapestries and a Boulle style console.

On the Renaissance chimney, the Salamander
Salamander
Salamander is a common name of approximately 500 species of amphibians. They are typically characterized by a superficially lizard-like appearance, with their slender bodies, short noses, and long tails. All known fossils and extinct species fall under the order Caudata, while sometimes the extant...

 and the Stoat conjure up the memory of Francis I and Queen Claude of France
Claude of France
Claude of France was a princess and queen consort of France and ruling Duchess of Brittany. She was the eldest daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne, Duchess of Brittany....

.

Surrounding the ceiling with exposed joists, the cornice has the initials of the Bohier family (T.B.K.). Above the console, "The child Jesus and Saint John the Baptist" by Rubens, purchased in 1889 at the sale of the King of Spain's Collection, Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph Bonaparte
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte was the elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily , and later King of Spain...

, Napoleon's brother.

The living room also offers a beautiful series of 18th century French paintings:
  • Van Loo's Portrait of King Louis XV
  • Nattier's Princess of Rohan
  • Netscher's Portrait of Chamillard, Minister of Louis XIV and Portrait of Man
  • Ranc's Portrait of Philip V
    Philip V of Spain
    Philip V was King of Spain from 15 November 1700 to 15 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son Louis, and from 6 September 1724, when he assumed the throne again upon his son's death, to his death.Before his reign, Philip occupied an exalted place in the royal family of France as a...

    , King of Spain


Also, a large portrait of Samuel Bernard, Louis XIV's banker, by Mignard.

Samuel Bernard, who was very rich, was also the father of Madame Dupin, whose grace and intelligence are underlined in her portrait by Nattier
Jean-Marc Nattier
Jean-Marc Nattier , French painter, was born in Paris, the second son of Marc Nattier , a portrait painter, and of Marie Courtois , a miniaturist...

. Madame Dupin, grandmother by marriage to George Sand
George Sand
Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, later Baroness Dudevant , best known by her pseudonym George Sand , was a French novelist and memoirist.-Life:...

, was the owner of Chenonceau in the 18th century. Her kindness and generosity saved Chenonceau from destruction during the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

.

The staircase


From the hall, an 16th century oak door provides access to the staircase.
Its sculpted leaves represent Old Law (under the figure of a blindfolded lady, with a book and a pilgrim's stick) and New Law (with an uncovered face and holding a palm and a chalice).

The staircase leading to the first floor is remarkable because it is one of the first straight staircases – or banister on banister – built in France based on the Italian model.
It is covered with a pitch vault with ribs intersecting at right-angles, the joints are decorated with keystones, the coffers are decorated with human figures, fruits and flowers (certain designs were hammered during the Revolution).

The staircase with two banisters is intersected by a landing forming loggia with a balustrade from which you can discover a view over the Cher.

Catherine Briconnet's hall


The First Floor hall is tiled with small baked clay tiles stamped with a fleur de lis crossed by a dagger.
The ceiling has exposed joists.

Above the doors, marble medallions, brought from Italy by Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France....

, show Roman emperors : Galba
Galba
Galba , was Roman Emperor for seven months from 68 to 69. Galba was the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, and made a bid for the throne during the rebellion of Julius Vindex...

, Claudius
Claudius
Claudius , was Roman Emperor from 41 to 54. A member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, he was the son of Drusus and Antonia Minor. He was born at Lugdunum in Gaul and was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italy...

, Germanicus
Germanicus
Germanicus Julius Caesar , commonly known as Germanicus, was a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and a prominent general of the early Roman Empire. He was born in Rome, Italia, and was named either Nero Claudius Drusus after his father or Tiberius Claudius Nero after his uncle...

, Vitellius
Vitellius
Vitellius , was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69. Vitellius was acclaimed Emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

 and Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

.
The suite of six 17th century audernade tapesteries represents hunting scenes according to Van Der Meulen's sketches.

Five queens' bedroom


This bedroom is thus named in memory of Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France....

's two daughters and three daughters-in-law.
Queen Margot
Marguerite de Valois
Margaret of Valois was Queen of France and of Navarre during the late sixteenth century...

 (wife of Henry IV
Henry IV of France
Henry IV , Henri-Quatre, was King of France from 1589 to 1610 and King of Navarre from 1572 to 1610. He was the first monarch of the Bourbon branch of the Capetian dynasty in France....

), Elisabeth of Valois
Elisabeth of Valois
Elisabeth of Valois was the eldest daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici.-Early life:She was born in the Château de Fontainebleau...

 (wife of Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

), her daughters and Mary, Queen of Scots (wife of Francis II), Elisabeth of Austria
Elisabeth of Austria (1554-1592)
Elisabeth of Austria was a German princess member of the House of Habsburg, by birth Archduchess of Austria and by marriage Queen of France.She was the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II and Maria of Spain....

 (wife of Charles IX
Charles IX of France
Charles IX was King of France, ruling from 1560 until his death. His reign was dominated by the Wars of Religion. He is best known as king at the time of the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.-Childhood:...

), Louise of Lorraine
Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont
Louise of Lorraine was a member of the House of Lorraine who became Queen consort of France from 1575 until 1589...

 (wife of Henry III), her daughters-in-law.

The 16th century coffer ceiling displays the Five Queens' coats-of-arms.
The chimney is of the Renaissance period.

The walls are covered with a 16th century Flemish tapestry suite representing : the siege of Troy
Troy
Troy was a city, both factual and legendary, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey, southeast of the Dardanelles and beside Mount Ida...

 and the kidnapping of Hélène, Circus Games in the Coliseum and the crowning of King David.
Another tapestry shows an episode from the life of Samson
Samson
Samson, Shimshon ; Shamshoun or Sampson is the third to last of the Judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Tanakh ....

.

The furniture made up of a large four poster bed, two Gothic
Gothic art
Gothic art was a Medieval art movement that developed in France out of Romanesque art in the mid-12th century, led by the concurrent development of Gothic architecture. It spread to all of Western Europe, but took over art more completely north of the Alps, never quite effacing more classical...

 credence tables topped with the heads of two women in polychrome wood and a studded travel chest.

On the walls are:
  • Rubens' Worshipping the Wise Men, a study for the large painting which today is in the Prado Museum.
  • Mignard's Portrait of the Duchess of Olonne.
  • 17th century Italian school Apollo
    Apollo
    Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

     at the home of Admete
    Admete
    Admete is a name attributed to two individuals in Greek mythology:*Admete the Oceanid, a companion of Persephone. Hyginus in the preface to his fables calls her Admeto, and a daughter of Pontus and Thalassa....

     the Argonaut
    .

Catherine de' Medici's bedroom



This bedroom has beautiful 16th century sculpted furniture and is decorated with a series of 16th century Flemish tapesteries retracing Samson
Samson
Samson, Shimshon ; Shamshoun or Sampson is the third to last of the Judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Tanakh ....

's life.

They are remarkable for their edges filled with animals symbolising proverbs and fables, for example the fable of The Crayfish and the Oyster or Skill is greater than Cunning.

The chimney and the floor tiles are Renaissance.

To the right of the bed The teaching of Love by Correggio
Antonio da Correggio
Antonio Allegri da Correggio , usually known as Correggio, was the foremost painter of the Parma school of the Italian Renaissance, who was responsible for some of the most vigorous and sensuous works of the 16th century...

 painted on wood, of which the London National Gallery
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

 has a version painted on canvas

Estampes exhibition room


These small apartments decorated with a ceiling and chimney dating from the 18th century in one part and from the 16th century in the second, bring together a collection of drawings and engraving
Engraving
Engraving is the practice of incising a design on to a hard, usually flat surface, by cutting grooves into it. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing...

s of Chenonceau of which the oldest dates back to 1560 and the most recent to the 19th century.

Cesar of Vendôme's bedroom


This room reminds us of Cesar of Vendôme
César de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme
César de Bourbon, Légitimé de France , Duke of Vendôme, was the son of Henry IV of France and his mistress Gabrielle d'Estrées. Sometimes simply known as César de Vendôme. Through his daughter, Élisabeth de Bourbon, César was a great-great-great-grandfather of Louis XV of France, merging thereafter...

, son of King Henry IV and Gabrielle d'Estrées
Gabrielle d'Estrées
Gabrielle d'Estrées, Duchess of Beaufort and Verneuil, Marchioness of Monceaux was a French mistress of King Henry IV of France, born at either the Château de la Bourdaisière in Montlouis-sur-Loire, in Touraine, or at the château de Cœuvres, in Picardy....

, who became owner of Chenonceau in 1624.

The following are worth noting :
  • A most beautiful ceiling with exposed joists which support a cornice decorated with canons.
  • The renaissance chimney was painted in the 19th century with Thomas Bohier's coat-of-arms.
  • The window opening to the West is surrounded by two 17th century wooden caryatids.
  • The walls are hung with a suite of three 17th century Brussels tapestries illustrating the ancient myth of Demeter
    Demeter
    In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

     and Persephone
    Persephone
    In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

    .
The journey of Demeter
Demeter
In Greek mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest, who presided over grains, the fertility of the earth, and the seasons . Her common surnames are Sito as the giver of food or corn/grain and Thesmophoros as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society...

 and Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

 to Hell gives its fruits to Mankind, Persephone
Persephone
In Greek mythology, Persephone , also called Kore , is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest-goddess Demeter, and queen of the underworld; she was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld....

 returns to spend six months on Earth, a mythological symbol for the alternating seasons.
The most beautiful edges, typical of Brussels, represent the garlands of fruits and flowers coming from the cornucopia
Cornucopia
The cornucopia or horn of plenty is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers, nuts, other edibles, or wealth in some form...

.
  • The four-poster bed and the furniture in this room are from the 16th century.
  • To the left of the window is a painting by Murillo
    Bartolomé Estéban Murillo
    Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was a Spanish Baroque painter. Although he is best known for his religious works, Murillo also produced a considerable number of paintings of contemporary women and children...

    , Portrait of Saint Joseph.

Gabrielle d'Estrées' bedroom


This bedroom evokes the memory of Gabrielle d'Estrées, King Henry IV's favourite, and mother to his illegitimate son César of Vendôme.

The ceiling with visible joists, the ground, the chimney and the furniture are Renaissance.
Near to the four-poster bed, a 16th century Flemish tapestry.

Hanging on the three other walls is a very rare suite of tapestries known as The Lucas months:
  • June - Cancer.
  • The shearing of sheep.
  • July - Leo.
  • Falcon hunting.
  • August - Virgo.
  • Paying the Harvesters.


Their sketches are by Lucas van Leyden
Lucas van Leyden
Lucas van Leyden , also named either Lucas Hugensz or Lucas Jacobsz, was a Dutch engraver and painter, born and mainly active in Leiden...

 or Lucas Van Nevele.
Above the cabinet, a 17th century Florence school canvas represents Saint Cecilia
Saint Cecilia
Saint Cecilia is the patroness of musicians and Church music because as she was dying she sang to God. It is also written that as the musicians played at her wedding she "sang in her heart to the Lord". St. Cecilia was an only child. Her feast day is celebrated in the Roman Catholic, Anglican,...

, patron saint of musicians.
Above the door, Francisco Ribalta
Francisco Ribalta
Francesc Ribalta , also known as Francisco Ribaltá or de Ribalta, was a Spanish painter of the Baroque period, mostly of religious subjects.He was born in Solsona, Lleida...

 Child to the Lamb.

Second floor hall


This hall has kept intact the restoration work carried out during the 19th century by the architect Roguet, one of Viollet-le-Duc's disciples.
Note the 19th century Neuilly tapestry symbolizing the Cher, on which a Venetian gondola
Gondola
The gondola is a traditional, flat-bottomed Venetian rowing boat, well suited to the conditions of the Venetian Lagoon. For centuries gondolas were the chief means of transportation and most common watercraft within Venice. In modern times the iconic boats still have a role in public transport in...

 is portrayed; the gondola
Gondola
The gondola is a traditional, flat-bottomed Venetian rowing boat, well suited to the conditions of the Venetian Lagoon. For centuries gondolas were the chief means of transportation and most common watercraft within Venice. In modern times the iconic boats still have a role in public transport in...

 was actually brought to Chenonceau in the 19th century, with its gondolier, by Madame Pelouze, the owner at that time.
The two credence tables as well as the floor stones are Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...


Louise of Lorraine's bedroom



Following the assassination of her husband King Henry III by the monk Jacques Clément
Jacques Clément
Jacques Clément was the assassin of the French king Henry III.He was born at Serbonnes, in today's Yonne département, in Burgundy, and became a Dominican lay brother....

  on August 1, 1589, Louise of Lorraine
Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont
Louise of Lorraine was a member of the House of Lorraine who became Queen consort of France from 1575 until 1589...

 retired to Chenonceau in meditation and prayer.

Surrounded by nuns who lived in the château as in a convent, and always dressed in white in compliance with the etiquette of royal mourning, she was known as "the White Queen".
Her bedroom has been reconstructed around the original ceiling. It is decorated with mourning objects : silver tears, widows' cordons, crowns of thorns and the Greek letter - l - lambda, Louise's initial, intertwined with the H of Henry III.

The devout and mournful atmosphere of this room is highlighted by Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

 with a crown of thorns
Crown of Thorns
In Christianity, the Crown of Thorns, one of the instruments of the Passion, was woven of thorn branches and placed on Jesus Christ before his crucifixion...

 and the religious scene – a 16th century painting on wood – which decorates the chimney.
The furniture is from the 16th century.

Gardens




On the right, Diane de Poitiers' garden, the entrance to which is overlooked by the Steward's house: La Chancellerie, built in the 16th century. In the centre of the garden, there is a fountain described by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau in his book entitled Les plus Excellents Bâtiments de France (The most Excellent Buildings in France - 1576).

This garden is protected from flooding by the Cher by elevated terraces from which there are beautiful views over the borders and over the Château.
On the left, The more intimate garden of Catherine de' Medici, with a central pool and from which we discover the West façade.

The Gardens' floral decoration changes in the spring and in the summer needs 130,000 bedding plants grown on the Estate to be planted. Lining the Court of Honour, the domes building, from the 16th century, formerly housed the Royal Stables and the silk worm farm introduced into France by Catherine de' Medici. Also, the 16th century farm and the 70 hectare park can also be visited.

Alongside the Grand Avenue of Plane trees, in the centre of the arbour and facing the caryatides, a maze with two thousand yews
Taxus
Taxus is a genus of yews, small coniferous trees or shrubs in the yew family Taxaceae. They are relatively slow-growing and can be very long-lived, and reach heights of 1-40 m, with trunk diameters of up to 4 m...

has been planted in the spirit of Catherine de' Medici's time, according to an Italian plan dating from 1720.

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