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A day at the Château of Chenonceau

Spend a day discovering the incredible Château of Chenonceau and find yourself enchanted by the beautiful architecture as you stroll through the gardens and the elegant gallery that stretches across the river Cher…

The Château of Chenonceau: The Ladies’ Château 

Start your day by visiting the beautiful château. Nicknamed the "Ladies’ Château", Chenonceau owes its elegance and refinement to the women who fell in love with the building and its grounds.
During your visit, discover how the famous women who lived at the château shaped its future. Over the centuries, these women - Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de’ Medici, Louise of Lorraine and Madame Dupin - all added to, took care of, and saved the Château of Chenonceau.
 
The twenty rooms that are open to the public offer a window into the incredible history of the building. Before you even enter the château, take the time to admire the arms of Thomas Bohier and his wife Katherine Briçonnet, who built the original château. This beautiful stonework frames the front door to the incredible building. From the guards' room to Diane de Poitiers' bedroom, Catherine de’ Medici’s study, the kitchens and the Francis I lounge, as you walk through the château you will be seduced by the elegantly furnished interiors and beautiful artwork in every room. Afterwards, get a taste of the aristocratic lifestyle by crossing the famous gallery that spans the river Cher. The foundations of the gallery were laid by Diane de Poitiers, mistress of King Henry II, who had a bridge built to cross the river. A few years later, when the King died, his wife Catherine de’ Medici forced Diane de Poitiers to return the Château to her in exchange for the Château of Chaumont-sur-Loire. Catherine then had a gallery built on the bridge which closely resembles the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, her native city. Spanning 60 metres and paved with slate and tuffeau stone, the gallery gracefully stretches across the river. In 2019, the château will celebrate the 500th anniversary of Catherine de’ Medici’s birth.
 
 
During the Frist World War, the then owner of the Château of Chenonceau, Gaston Menier, transformed the famous gallery into a military hospital. Through to the end of the war, over 2000 wounded servicemen were treated there. Find out more about this part of the château’s history in the Galerie des Dômes, where a permanent exhibition pays tribute to the important role the gallery played in the War.
This part of the château was not only important in the First World War. During the Second World War, the gallery was used to help people to leave occupied France and enter the free zone of France. This is because the south door of the gallery led to the left bank of the Cher River, which marked the demarcation line.
 
 

Catherine de’ Medici’s Apothecary

After exploring the Château of Chenonceau, make sure you visit Catherine de’ Medici’s apothecary. In June, this room was opened to the public and is in the Dômes building, which was its original location when Catherine was Queen of France. Get transported back in time by the room’s wooden furniture and collection of 500 jars, pots and mortars which used to be used to prepare remedies and ointments.
 
Catherine de’ Medici always surrounded herself with scientists. Among them was her doctor, Frenchman Augier Ferrier and the famous Nostradamus, her herbalist, who was so well-known that the queen summoned him to court in 1555.
 
  

The Château of Chenonceau’s gardens and flower studio

The Château of Chenonceau’s beautiful gardens are the perfect setting for a walk.
 
Next to the castle, the Diane de Poitiers (12,000 m²) and Catherine de’ Medici (5,500 m²) gardens are a delight for the eyes. Feel like royalty as you walk through their elegant alleys and admire the château from a completely different perspective. This year, to celebrate Catherine de’ Medci’s 500th birthday, her garden will be entirely planted in black and white, the same colours as her iconic gallery.
 
When you’ve finished exploring those gardens, why not take a stroll through the Jardin Vert (green garden) which is planted with remarkable trees? Here you can discover the garden which pays tribute to Russell Page, one of the greatest contemporary landscape architects of our time. Take the time to admire the beautiful flower garden, whose flowers are used in the Château of Chenonceau’s flower studio. Here, florists make decadent floral decorations to adorn the rooms of the château.
 
In the park, have fun navigating through the circular labyrinth, with its beautiful yew-planted paths.
 
The Château de Chenonceau is the only French château to have its own flower studio. All year round, the florists, including a Meilleur Ouvrier de France, create impressive flower arrangements and enchanting bouquets to decorate the rooms of the château.
 
At the Château de Chenonceau, there is something for all the family! Why not take your children to visit the donkeys at the entrance to the estate? Nausicaa, Gliko, Apollonia and Markos share their stables with Myrtille the pony and love the company of kids!
 
 

Enjoy a boat trip under Château de Chenonceau’s gallery

In July and August, you can take a relaxing boat ride along the Cher river. This boat ride will allow you to see the stunning gallery from a different perspective, as it takes you under the arches of this famous part of the château.

The Château of Chenonceau’s Dômes Wine Cellar

This incredible trip is a wine lover’s heaven and opens the doors to the historical Château of Chenonceau’s wine cellar! Since the 16th century, the various owners of the château have all taken a great interest in the vineyards on the estate. Today, the vineyards from the Touraine Chenonceaux appellation produce gorgeous red and white wines that are characterised by their beautiful balance of flavours.
 
Why not take part in a once-in-a-lifetime wine tasting experience under the Dôme Wine Cellar’s magnificent 16th-century vaults? And if one glass isn’t enough, the estate’s wines are available to buy as either one or three bottle boxes.

Lunchtime at the château

The Orangerie restaurant is located in the orangery. Here, chef Christophe Canati’s menu focuses on gourmet cuisine that showcases the region’s best produce and wines. These beautiful dishes taste just as good as they look! At lunchtime, why not also try the delicious delicacies made by the restaurant’s pastry chef?
 
If you fancy a quick meal, you can also eat at the château’s other restaurant. Here you can enjoy hot dishes, a salad bar and delicious deserts that you can eat on the restaurant’s beautiful shaded terrace.
 
If you fancy a picnic, then why not sit on one of the many comfortable benches provided? 
 
Click here to find out all of the practical information you need for your visit to the Château of Chenonceau