Chenonceau Chateau History
Don’t let the title of this episode fool you: I cannot possibly tell you the whole story of the Chateau of Chenonceau in such a short format! This is a trip report to which I’ve added to with a French History Tidbit. I intend for it to give you a flavor or the Chenonceau so you can decide if you’d like to include it in your itinerary next time you visit France.
In this episode, Nancy Calkins tells us about her visit to the Chenonceau and Cheverny Chateaux in the Loire Valley. They are both spectacular, and Cheverny also offered stimulating activities for her teens, including the hunting dog pack and the tie-in to the Tintin stories. Nancy has some recommendations of where to stay in Montrichard which were quirky and fun.
Then, in the French History segment of the podcast, I share the parts of Chenonceau Chateau History that grabbed my attention. The story of the rivalry between Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici and how two French Kings died. I am editing this episode on Halloween, so that probably influenced that choice. Listen to how François I and Henry II, and you tell me: which one was worse?
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Episode Highlights with Time Stamps
[03:25] Nancy Calkins Introduction
[04:25] Picturesque countryside, meandering along the Cher and the Loire, it’s the world of Châteaux.
[04:55] It’s difficult to choose where to stay because everything is in close proximity to the Châteaux, but they decided to start in Montrichard because it is a little off the beaten path and you can take a canoe trip that starts there.
The tour takes you under the arches of the Chenonceau Château. Canoe sur le Cher is the name of the company. You can also bike and combine it with canoeing. Montrichard is not a touristy town at all, you’re mingling with locals.
Recommendations Near Cheverny
[07:55] They stayed at a place called La Chancellerie, it was quirky, but it’s a miniature château , you go up a circular staircase up to an apartment, there’s a pool in the basement, troglodyte pool and area. Pétanque playing area. Game-room in the attic of the chateau, rocking horse, pool table, roulette table.
It lacks some refinements but is full of charms. The caretaker is laid-back that looks like Aussie Osborne but skinny and healthy. Gave good recommendations.
[11:00] The town is also cute, there’s a restaurant called Les Tuffeaux. The gentleman who runs that place was conversational and charming and attentive. Amazing wine from Cheverny. There’s Montrichard castle that got turned into a museum, they explored at night and went up the hill to get a lovely view over the valley.
[12:00] Great for families with kids, not up-scale, not recommended as much for honeymooners, although if you want something low-key.
[13:20] L]There are lots of little châteaux everywhere that you see as you drive around to the big ones. Montrichard was a manageable spot as a central location. Everything is accessible from there. Not far from Tour.
Loire Valley for Kids
[14:00] Loire Valley for kids. They went to Chenonceau chateau first, it is spectacular. The story of the rivalry between Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitier is amazing.
Catherine wanted to have the last word, so she put her own portrait up in the mistress’ room, she built her garden to rival the other, building on her bridge. Floral arrangements at Chenonceau are also amazing.
[15:40] Cheverny. This is the Château that Captain Haddock’s Mansion is based on in Tintin. There is now a Tintin exhibit there too and the kids love it. The hunting dogs are also amazing. There are 200 of them, they lounge around and they look cool. Cheverny is a great kid’s oriented château.
[18:10] There is a little wine tasting place just outside of the Cheverny château, it’s a great place to taste and buy some wine.
[19:10] Other cool things to do in the Loire are biking, seeing the troglodytes, see more of the châteaux. The two major rivers are the Loire and the Cher rivers.
[20:24] Thank you for your support!
French History Segment of the Podcast
[26:00] The French History segment of the podcast: Today Chenonceau Chateau History.
[44:00] French Tip of the Week: Où se trouve la station service la plus proche, s’il vous plaît ?
Learning about Chenonceau chateau history is definitely one of the reasons to go visit. Not just big historical events, but also all the small steamy stories too!
Cheverny is also gorgeous, and has the added interest of being the place that Tintin creator Hergé modeled Captain Haddock’s Castle on. So if your kids have any interest in Tintin, they will love it. The hound dogs there are amazing too, that alone makes it worth the visit!
Both places are gorgeous, remember to charge your camera, you will definitely make good use of it! Enjoy your visit to the Loire Valley!
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