Travel Tuesday: Château de Chenonceau and Chambord Castles

I was going through some old files on my computer this weekend and came across these pics from my January 2003 trip to Paris. My friend Rob and I did a day trip to the Loire Valley to the Chambord and Chenonceau castles. The weather was gray and cold, a little misty, but the trip was well worth it. Even better, we were the only ones on the guided tour that also included a visit to Leondardo da Vinci’s manor house Le Clos Luce in Amboise. I didn’t get photos, unfortunately. We had lunch in a little restaurant nearby that was very tasty!

This first is the Chambord Castle (note, the following two images are not mine).

Image courtesy of France Monthly
Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Built in the 16th century, the Chambord Castle is the largest in the Loire Valley. Read more here. The architecture was completely awe inspiring – it was hard not to take a million photos.

The Chambord Castle is famous for it’s double helix staircases.

Some pretty spectacular bedding.
Ahh… the lovely parquet floors!

The long view looking out the rear of the castle.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Looking back towards the caste.

The Chateau de Chenonceau is much smaller (though hardly small!) and more charming of the two. According to the website “Château des Dames as recorded in the French history books, Chenonceau owes a large part of its charm to women: it was built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet, then made even more attractive by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médicis, and saved from the rigours of the French Revolution by Mrs Dupin. The lovely surroundings, the formal garden and the park surrounding it add to the impression of delicate grace emanating from the castle.”Yup – it’s all about the ladies! Read more here.

Being from New England, I am constantly amazed at how green the grass is in January in France. The weather may be cold and raw, but the grass stays nice a green!

The leaded windows are just gorgoeus.

I remember the green velvet on this carved chair was so lovely. And the flowers throughout the castle were just luscious.
I was really struck by how the white marble and black marble have worn differently.The white marble seemed much more worn down. I also recall standing there and really feeling the souls of all those who had walked this hall over the hundreds of years.

Catherine de Medici’s bedroom. She was the wife of King Henry II.
Some more Renaissance furniture and another spectacular floral arrangement.

The romace of these castles is palpable, but so is the unrelenting cold that permeates the rooms. It must have been lovely in the summer, but the winters must have been long and cold!

Have you been?

(all images, except where noted, by Linda Merrill)

xoxo Linda

2 thoughts on “Travel Tuesday: Château de Chenonceau and Chambord Castles”

  1. Yes and yes in the mid-nineties. The double helix staircase is one of the wonders of Europe. Other chateaux to see: Chateau de Montreuil-Bellay at Saumur and Chateaux D’Amboise where the French kings grew up. Can you tell I spent many summer vacations in the Loire Valley?
    Thanks for bringing back the memories

  2. Well, I can’t wait to go back and really dedicate some time – not just one day! – to that section of France. In 2000 I did a driving tour all over France, but we ran out of time at the end and found ourselves in Lourdes with 2 days left and had to make it back to Paris. The choice was Versailles or Loire, so we chose Versailles. So, I was happy that in 2003 I got at least a taste of the Loire.

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