Chateau Chenonceau Photos, Pictures and Images { 83 images } Created 27 Mar 2014

(updater 2021)
Photos and pictures of of Château de Chenonceau near the village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire department of the Loire Valley France. Château de Chenonceau is one of the most enigmatic chateau of the Loire which is why its the second most visited chateau in France. Originally the site of the chateau house an eleventh century fortified mill and house on the river Cher. This was burnt down in 1412 to punish its owner, Jean Marques, for acts of insurrection. Jean rebuilt the mill and chateau in the 1430s but his heir, Pierre, ran into debt and in 1513 sold it to Thomas Bohier Chamberlain of King Charles VIII of France. Bohier rebuilt all of the chateau apart from its 15th century castle keep between 1515 and 1521. In 1525 Bohiers lost favor with the King, Francis I, when he failed to pay off a debt to the crown and Chenonceau seized the chateau. on the death of Francis I the chateau became the possession of Henry II of France who gave it to his mistress Diane de Poitiers. In 1555 Diane commissioned commissioned Philibert de l'Orme to build the arched bridge over the river Cher joining the château to its opposite bank. At the same time she oversaw the planting of Chenonceau’s formal gardens. Although Diane de Poitiers became the undoubted mistress of Château de Chenonceau when Henry II died his widow, Catherine de' Medici, forced Diane de Poitiers to swap Château de Chenonceau for the Château Chaumont. As Regent 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. The grand gallery, which extended along the existing bridge to cross the entire river, was dedicated in 1577. Château de Chenonceau enjoyed Royal patronage until it was bought by the Duke of Bourbon in 1720 who sold off its contents, its best statues ending up in Versailles. The estate itself was finally sold for 130,000 livres in 1733 to a wealthy squire named Claude Dupin. Madame Louise Dupin  entertained the leaders of the French Enlightenment at Chanonceau like Voltaire and Rousseau. She saved the château from destruction during the French Revolution because it was the only bridge over the River Cher for miles. Legend has it that she took the “x” off end of Chenonceaux to please the villagers because “x” was a symbol of royalty from the Republic.

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