This was the Château I was looking forward to visiting the most since we started planning this vacation. We even stayed in the local village of Chenonceaux (the village has an “x” on the end of the name, the Château does not).
We chose the Hôtel Restaurant La Rosarie after reading positive reviews on Trip Advisor and reviewing the websites of several B&Bs in the Chenonceaux area. Just as in Honfleur, this B&B did not disappoint and only added to the magic of this vacation. We chose a Charming Room when booking online. This turned out to be a room in a different building than the main building. We walked up a flight of stairs to a private deck overlooking a beautiful garden. Our room was quite large with a sitting area, king size bed, fireplace, and fairly large bathroom. One of the quaint touches in the room was the the TV was mounted on an artist’s easel. A funky way to bring 21st century in the room while keeping with the historic feel of the area.
We had both of our dinners at the restaurant at the B&B. Both meals were delicious, one night was a shared steak, the other night we each had lamb chops. Both were delicious, if not a little pricey. The breakfasts were good, but after our idyllic breakfasts and settings in Honfleur it was hard for this breakfast to measure up to what we had come to love.
Now, onto the Château – which is another winning feature of the B&B – we literally walked around the corner and were on the Château grounds. We visited on a Saturday morning, and knowing this would be a popular day we arrive just as the Château was opening. We pretty much had it with minimum fellow travelers for the first hour of our visit. We were able to take many people-free photos inside and outside of the Château.
We opted for the audio guide for our tour of this Château. The audio guide is on an iPod, giving you audio and additional historic photos as you walk the Château. We toured the guard’s room, chapel, Diane de Poitiers’ bedroom, green study, library, gallery, Louis XIV’s room, Katherine Briçonnet’s hall, five queen’s room, Catherine de Medici’s room, exhibition room, Medici gallery, Cesar of Vendôme’s room, and Gabrielle d’Estées’ room. The second floor (third floor for Americans) was closed for restoration when we were there.
The Gallery is as beautiful as it is when you see it in photos and on TV shows. The black and white checkered floor draws your eyes from one end of the gallery to the other. The Gallery spans the River Cher. During WWI it played a role as a hospital and that is marked with a memorial and beautiful flower arrangement. During WWII the Gallery straddled the border line between occupied France and Vichy France – serving as a route for people escaping occupied France to freedom in Vichy France.
After touring the inside of the Château we explored the two competing gardens of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici. Both gardens are beautiful and perhaps an illustration of the very real competition between these two women as Diane de Poitiers was Catherine de Medici’s husband’s mistress. Diane lived at this this Château until King Henri II died, then Catherine inherited the Château and kicked her husband’s mistress out! The gardens are not the only sign of the competition between these two women. As we toured the Château we learned of various changes Catherine made to the Château to erase memories and signs of her husband’s mistress ever owning the Château.
As we left the Château we purchased baguette sandwiches at the snack bar to eat along our way to Chartres – our next destination.
- If visiting on a weekend get there early before the crowds to take some wonderful photos, and fully enjoy the grounds and Château.
- If possible, stay in the village of Chenonceaux. There is some sort of magic in walking to such an iconic château from your vacation home.
- We missed the evening light and laser show by one day, if traveling in the summer, see if you can arrange your visit around when this show is performed. After seeing the Château I can imagine this is an excellent show.