Video: Château de Chenonceau

During our cruise aboard Nymphea we navigate under the 5-arch bridge of the impressive Château de Chenonceau and moor at Chisseaux. From there we take a short drive in the air-conditioned minibus to visit Chenonceau, often called ‘the ladies château’, after those such as Henry II’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who added the bridge over the River Cher and the beautiful gardens.

The Château de Chenonceau is a Renaissance masterpiece and an architectural wonder. Built in 1520 by a wealthy tax collector for his wife, it became a royal retreat for, among others, Catherine de Medici and Mary, Queen of Scots. It is a five-arch bridge which was transformed into a château, with its galerie de bal, the scene of some legendary galas, spanning the River Cher.

Inside the château are magnificent ceilings, fireplaces, furnishings, and paintings; many of the walls are covered with the famed Gobelin tapestries. During WW I the château served as a military hospital. During WW II the château sat on the demarcation line between Vichy-ruled France and the territory held by the Germans, with the line running down the middle of the Cher. The château’s southern exit was in the free zone; its entrance was in the German-occupied zone.