Château de Chenonceau
The Loire Valley, France. May-June 2018. (12 photos)
This is Part 4 of my France 2018 photo series, and also Part 6 of my Europe 2018 photo series.
Château de Chenonceau is a French château spanning the River Cher, near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Loire Valley in France. It is one of the best-known châteaux of the Loire valley. The estate of Chenonceau is first mentioned in writing in the 11th century. In 1535 the château was seized by King Francis I of France for unpaid debts to the Crown. After Francis’ death in 1547, Henry II offered the château as a gift to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, perhaps the best known occupant in the history of the château.
The chapel of Château de Chenonceau
Vallée de la Loire, or The Loire Valley.
I spent 2 weeks in Paris, but punctuated my time in Paris with a few days staying in The Loire Valley. Train travel in France is very easy when there are no strikes happening. As you may or may not know, the French SNCF employees embarked on a series of rolling strikes (3 days on then 2 days off) from April to July this year. At least I knew which days were train strike days and I could plan my travel around them.
The Loire Valley, Vallée de la Loire, is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. The area of the Loire Valley comprises about 800 square kilometres (310 sq mi). It is referred to as the Cradle of the French and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards and vegetable fields, which line the banks of the river. It is notable for its wines, historic towns, architecture, and particularly its châteaux. In 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites.
For my visit to the Loire Valley and its châteaux, I based myself in Tours. Tours is a university town between the Cher and Loire rivers. It was part of the Roman Empire during the 1st century AD when the city was named “Caesarodunum” (“Hill of Caesar”).
“Château de Villesavin”
Château de Villesavin is a 16th-century château and is a designated historical monument of France. It is a private château owned by the Count and Countess de Sparre. As part of my prearranged visit, I was fortunate to enjoy a very lovely lunch prepared by the Countess. There, I first tasted the regional specialty, strawberries-in-season. I have never tasted strawberries like those before. They’re reason enough to go back.
The chapel of Château de Villesavin
Château de Chambord
The Château de Chambord is one of the most recognisable châteaux in the world because of its very distinctive French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures. The building, which was never completed, was constructed by King Francis I of France. The château was built to act as a hunting lodge for King Francis I; however, the king spent barely seven weeks there in total.
Château de Villandry
In the original 14th century keep of Château de Villandry, King Philip II of France once met King Richard I of England to discuss peace. During the French Revolution the property was confiscated and in the early 19th century, Emperor Napoleon acquired it for his brother Jérôme Bonaparte.The Château de Villandry is famous for its Renaissance gardens including a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, and vegetable gardens. The gardens are laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges.
Château de l’Islette
Built around 1295, Château de l’Islette is now a private home, which the owners open up to visitors.