The spectacular Château de Chenonceau is an architectural mixture of late Gothic and early Renaissance elements and, with the integral bridge over the river Cher, is one of the defining Chateau of the region.  Built on the site of an old mill and surrounded by formal Renaissance gardens it is a spectacular sight and a must visit location.

The first château was a medieval fortress dating from the 12th and 13th centuries, of which only the dungeon remains, the Tour des Marques. The château in its current form was built between 1513 and 1576 in three stages, by Thomas Bohier and above all his wife, Catherine Briçonnet. An architectural mix between late Gothic and early Renaissance, it is the second most visited chateau in France after Versailles.

The chateau became become part of the Crown Estate in 1553 and King Henry II gave the property, not to the Queen, but to his favorite lady, Diane de Poitiers.  Following the death of Henry,  the Queen, Catherine de’ Medici remove Diane from the residence and used Chenonceau as her base while Regent to her young son.  Over the following centuries, the chateau was home to a number of prominent women which led to the nickname of “the Ladies chateau”.

Visitor notes: Chenonceau attracts large numbers of visitors and become very busy, particularly in the chateau building.  There is a large car park at the entrance and an excellent cafe. The Orangerie, the château’s fine-dining restaurant, is located in the Green Garden and is also very popular.