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Le Chateau de Chenanceau
 
Prices and Hours of Operation:
Du 16 mars au 15 septembre :
09h00 - 19h00.
Entrée individuelle : 8,00 €.


25 mins by train  from paris

  Description/ History:

11th century: a village is started nearby

13th to 15th centuries: The Marques family builds a feudal manor house.

1411: the manor house is destroyed by the king, by way of punishing Jean-Marques for his rebellion.

1432: Jean-Marques builds a mill/fort instead, then has to sell in to Thomas Bohier, who tears it down again in 1515. He uses the foundation to begin construction on the castle. Thomas goes to war, leaving the construction to his wife Catherine Briçonnet.

1517: Catherine is adding a woman's touch to the project, and it begins to look less and less like the war fort that Thomas had planned on.

1521-22: Catherine finishes the construction and moves in. It is opulent, worthy of receiving the richest guests, king Francois the 1st visited it twice. Thomas died in 1524, Catherine in 1526, their son Antoine takes over, but has to give the castle to the royalty to pay off his father's debt...Montmorency becomes the new tenant.

1547: Henri the 2nd gives the castle to his mistress Diane de Poitiers, who becomes legitimate owner in 1555. Henri's jealous wife Catherine de Médicis, wants to know why her husband prefers a mistress 20 years his senior, and makes a peep-hole into Diane's bedroom! Diane rules her land with an iron fist, and is responsible for the extensive gardens.

1555: Diane builds the ballroom over the Cher river.

1559: Henri dies, and Catherine, still bitter, blackmails Diane out of her castle. Diane moves to Chaumont castle instead. Catherine moves in.

1563: Catherine completely re-designs the gardens to her own likes.

1577: The ballroom is complete, and Chenonceau lives it's most renowned night as Catherine throws the party of the century. 3 queens are in attendance as they celebrate the crowning of Catherine's son Henri the 3rd. Henri the 3rd, Louise, his queen, and Marguerite de Navarre, future queen of Henri the 4th are all in attendance. Catherine, the queen mother, died at Blois in 1589, leaving the castle to Marguerite de Navarre.

1589: Marguerite's husband, king Henri the 4th, is assassinated at Saint-Cloud, shortly after she found out that he was gay. She locks herself in the castle and turns it into a house of mourning. She is known as the 'White Queen' for wearing white until her dying day as an expression of mourning for her dead husband.

1601: Françoise de Lorraine inherits the castle. She is 6 years old and fated to wed the son of Henri the 4th,  César de Vendôme. Cesar does his best to manage the estate that everyone wants, but cannot handle it. The last royalty to visit the castle was in 1650, Louis the 14th.

1720: The Duc de Bourbon buys the castle, but most of the furnishings, books, and even the statuary was donated to the construction of Versailles.

1733: Louise Dupin buys the castle. She is not noble, but her family is rich, and she loves the theatre. She brings life back to it, and the villagers lover her.

1864: Marguerite Pelouze buys Chenonceau. She remodels the castle completely.

1913: Chenonceau is inherited by Henri Menier. His family still owns it. In 1914 it was used as a hospital in WWII. In 1942 it was fought over by the Germans as the front was in captive territory and the back door, across the river, was in free territory.

1952: Hubert Menier undertakes to clean up the place and open it for show to the public.

 
Applicable Links:
http://www.chenonceau.com/Château de Chenonceau
  Pictures: