During my winter visit to France’s Loire Valley, I think it is safe to say I visited my fair share of chateaux. From the world famous Château de Chambord to the ladies castle Château de Chenonceau, I wanted to share my experiences and hopefully inspire your own trip or if you already have one planned, inform you on where to visit and where you could skip! So without further ado, here’s more about my visit to the famed French ladies castle, Château de Chenonceau.
My visit to Château de Chenonceau in Loire Valley
I’ll start by stating the obvious: my visit to Château de Chenonceau was in winter. Gloomy, overcast and signature grey winter. But alas, I had a great visit (albeit a cold one). If you are planning a trip to the Loire Valley, I’d say visit during summer if you can. The next best time of year to visit will be mid-Spring, followed by mid-Fall and lastly, winter. There’s just no nice way to say it: winter in the French countryside is painfully cold and not nearly as charming as visiting during the warmer months.
Yet, despite the grey skies, I really enjoyed my visit to Château de Chenonceau. Comparing it to the other chateaux in the region, I’d say this is my top choice for a number of reasons.
Firstly, the grounds are extensive and offer beautifully manicured gardens. You can take your time enjoying the garden rooms during the warmer months but for me, with rain and leather boots (my own fault), I was in a rush to get inside.
Inside the Chateau
The highlight of the Chateau for me was exploring the interiors. This particular chateau has a fascinating history and you’ll soon come to learn it has been dubbed the “ladies castle” as a reference to the chateau having only lady owners.
Upon arrival inside the chateau you will be given a pamphlet that outlines much of the history of the Chenonceau. It is full of great information and little pockets of knowledge, much of which I won’t spoil here. But it is worth mentioning that with female owners and a strong history of female influence, this chateau is without a doubt the most feminine and romantic of all the chateaus in the region. Even today there are always massive bouquets of fresh flowers inside each of the rooms, paying tribute to the history of the chateau but also a style choice of the current female owner.
Read more: The Best of Loire Valley in a few days
The gardens at Château de Chenonceau
There are a number of gardens at the chateau and each of them are certainly worth a visit regardless of the season. Starting with Diana of Poitiers, the garden pictured above. This garden was crafted in the Renaissance period and is best seen from the castle itself, or simply taking a walk around the parameter.
On the other side of the castle you will find the garden of Catherine de Medici, where the Queen herself worked in the garden upon arriving from Italy. This garden is smaller and faces the lake and park, making it one of the most beautiful areas of the grounds to admire the castle.
There is also the garden green to explore and for kids, the garden maze.
Château de Chenonceau is located about 12km east of Amboise. It spans the River Cher and although situated near the small village of Chenonceaux, there are many more towns, villages and cities nearby to stay. Blois is a great city to base yourself, as is Orleans.
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