Château de Chenonceau
Visit the Château de Chenonceau to admire the building’s beautiful design and see its furnished rooms. The interiors are decorated with the original, lavish furnishings and Flemish tapestries. Don’t miss the stained-glass chapel, the royal chambers, the library, the 196-foot (60-meter) gallery, and the gardens, which were designed by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici.
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Things to Know Before You Go
The château charges an entry fee; there are discounts for children and students.
You can opt for an audio tour narrated by an actress playing Madame Pelouze, the last woman to refurbish the castle.
The château has three on-site restaurants, ranging in price and style; you can also bring a picnic to enjoy by the river.
How to Get There
The Château de Chenonceau is located in Touraine, in the Loire Valley, near the commune of Chenonceaux. You can reach Tours from Paris by train (the ride takes about 1 hour), then take the TER train from Tours to Chenonceaux. You can also drive from Paris via the A10 “Aquitaine” autoroute and exit at Blois or Amboise; the drive takes about 2 hours. There is free parking at the château.
When to Get There
The château is open all year round from morning until the late afternoon or evening. Hours vary slightly depending on the season, so check the schedule before visiting. During the summer, visitors can enjoy nighttime walks around the illuminated grounds.
The Women of Chenonceau
After the castle was constructed, Henry II gifted it to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who added the romantic arched bridge and the gardens. When Henry died, his widow, Catherine de’ Medici, forced Diane out, then added the gallery atop the bridge and her own gardens. The next woman to own (and alter) the castle was Louise de Lorraine, wife of Henry III. She was followed by Madame Dupin, who entertained Voltaire and Rousseau.
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