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The Loire Valley Itinerary

Day 5

Chateau Chenonceau - Home of Louise The Inconsolable, Among Others

View across the garden of Catherine di Medici to Château Chenonceau, Loire ValleyBefore leaving Loches, we will attempt to fill any gaps left in your knowledge of its medieval royal buildings (possibly caused by indulging in an extra beer or two on the delightful terrace of the Georges Sands yesterday afternoon.) after which we will head back across country to the most visited of all Loire Châteaux, Chenonceau.

Built as a bridge over the Cher and surrounded by ornamental gardens and man-made moats, this château manages to live up to the usual French hyperbole of its website. It truly is unforgettable.


Most of the rooms are open, and this is a chance to see original floors, tapestries and furniture. In general French Châteaux don't have all the furnishings and interior detail that we often see in British castles. Chenonceau is a pleasant exception, and Louise of Lorraine's room, painted entirely in black with silver motifs of tears and crowns of thorns to mourn her dead husband, is especially memorable.


The ballroom, built by Catherine de Medici, spans the Cher in spectacular fashion, and although the Château had no military value it took on a gloomy historical role in the 20th century. First, it served as an army hospital in the First World War. Then, In the Second World War, the Cher was the boundary between Nazi-occupied France and Vichy France. Château Chenonceau was a border post, each end of the ballroom opening into a different country.


Our hotel tonight is the Hotel Bellevue in Montrichard, a few kilometres upstream from Chenonceau, overlooking the Cher.

 

Distance = 25 miles / 40 Km

Click this link for Day 5 route map on mapometer.

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