I bid you welcome to Château de Chenonceau. This is the ultimate dream castle for you frustrated princes and princesses out there, a castle that seems to have no business in the middle of the Cher River, in France. There are no pet dragons though.
The Château de Chenonceau is a castle located in the Loire Valley, in France. It stretches over the Cher River (a tributary of the Loire River) and it was once the only bridge over this river for miles. So imagine people crossing a bridge by going all the way into your house! It’s supposedly the most visited of the Loire Valley castles. I went on a very cloudy and rainy day in July 2004, but the rain didn’t prevent us from getting on the rowboats and admiring the beautiful gardens.
The site was originally built in the 11th century! But in the 15th, it was burned down as a legal punishment to the owner. After that, the castle was impounded, confiscated, given as a gift, re-gifted, and taken away. It seems to have been very popular. Everybody who set eyes on the castle fell in love with it—especially women, since it is also apparently known as “the women’s castle”—and it was the setting for many great parties hosted by queens and kings of France, as well as nobility. Heck, Voltaire was in this very same castle in which I strolled about!
In the 19th century, the castle started to pass to hands of civilians. It even once belonged to a Cuban millionaire, who sold it to a family member, who sold it to its current owners.
Rain and river meet through a gargoyle.
It’s easy to get into the river, preferably on a rowboat. The grounds are full of small ladders like this one.
This is one of those landmarks where it’s difficult to determine where does reality and reflection start or end.
This extraordinary sample of late Gothic and early Renaissance architecture is the second most visited castle in all of France, after Versailles. There are charming little rowboats you may use to enjoy the peaceful, mirror-like Cher River. The gardens are gorgeous and there’s even a labyrinth.
All the pictures were taken with a Nikon FM10 and 35mm film (400 ISO).