14 May 2018

Discovering the gardens of Château de Chenonceau in the french Loire Valley

(Voir plus bas pour la traduction française) 

As I've grown older, I've come to appreciate my home more and more. What I once considered to be a boring and uneventful corner of the world is actually full of beauty, rich in history & a peaceful environment to live in. A little slice of heaven where I can gaze upon the sea of stars at night, wake up at dawn to a chorus of bird songs and bathe in golden sunlight every summer evening. If travelling half-way across the world has taught me anything, it's that there is no place like home. Despite having lived here in the french countryside for the majority of my life, I have seen so little of it. We are fortunate to live only a few hours away from some of the biggest tourist destinations in France, yet there are so many places we have yet to tick off our bucket list. As it was bank-holiday week (with sunny weather) we decided to visit one of the many castles located in the Loire Valley.

The Château de Chenonceau is located in the Indre-et-Loire department of the Loire Valley, near the small village of Chenonceaux. It's one of the most popular castles in France, with Queens, Kings and other famous historical figures having wandered through its glorious front door. It took us 2 hours to drive here along with a 14 euro entrance fee each, but it was one of the best days out we've had here in a while.

C’est en grandissant que j’ai commencé a vraiment apprécier notre maison. Un lieu que je considérais ennuyant est en réalité un lieu plein de beauté, riche en histoire et un environnement sûr.  Un petit morceau de paradis, où je peux fixer un océan d’étoiles chaque nuit et écouter les chansons des oiseaux à l’aube. Si voyager m’a appris quelque chose, c’est que nulle part peut remplacer chez soi. J’ai vécu la majorité de ma vie à la campagne et pourtant j’en ai vu si peu. Fortuitement, on vit à quelques heures de route de plusieurs grandes destinations touristiques françaises. C’était une semaine de fériés ensoleillés, donc on a décidé d’en profiter en visitant le Château de Chenonceau dans la vallée de la Loire, à 2 heures de chez nous. 

Le Château de Chenonceau se situe dans le département d’Indre-et-Loire dans la vallée de la Loire, à quelques pas du petit village de Chenonceaux. Le château fut l’un des châteaux le plus reconnu en France, habité et visité par des Reines, des Rois et de nombreux personnalités historique à travers les siècles. L’entrée coûte environ 14 euros par personne mais c’était une journée très agréable.

First appearing in writing in the 11th Century, the château was originally a fortified castle & mill belonging to the Marques family. This previous structure was demolished in the 16th Century by Katherine Briconnet and her husband Thomas Bohier (leaving only a tower which they restored in the Renaissance style) in order to build the Château de Chenonceau. Over the following years, the castle was extended over the river by its new residents. With an architectural mix of Gothic & Renaissance architecture, the château is surrounded by moats & overlooks the beautiful gardens located on its west and north-east side.

A l’origine un moulin fortifié datant du 13ème siècle appartement à la famille Marques, ce structure a été démolit par Katherine Briçonnet et son mari Thomas Bohier au 16ème siècle, afin de créer le Château de Chenonceau. Le seul vestige qui reste de la structure précédente est la tour Marques (qui a été restaurée dans le style renaissance) située à quelques pas de l’entrée du château. Dans les années qui suivent, le château fut aménagé, agrandi et embellit sous le regard de ses nouveaux habitants. Avec un mélange de styles architecturales gothique et renaissance, le château est entouré de douves et s’étend sur la rivière Cher.  Le château offre également une vue sur les jardins situés au nord-est et à l’ouest de l’édifice. 

Located within the castle grounds is a charming 16th Century Farm, complete with a collection of antique carriages that you can admire up close. This place truly felt like one huge museum where you were free to admire its priceless artifacts, it was all very open and welcoming. There are several picnic areas, a self-service restaurant & a crêperie throughout the grounds, as well as a vegetable flower garden, a maze, a donkey park and more. 

Situé dans le terrain du château se trouve une petite ferme charmante datant du 16ème siècle, doté d’une collection d’anciens calèches qui peuvent être appréciés de près. On a vraiment le sentiment d’être dans un immense musée où l’on est libre d’apprécier tout de près, c’est un lieu très accueillant et ouvert. Il y a aussi plusieurs aires de pique-nique, une crêperie et un restaurant ainsi qu’un petit labyrinthe, plusieurs jardins et plus. 

The is the first of several posts from our time here: the following posts will feature pictures of the castles beautiful interior as well as some outfit posts too, and of course more about its incredible history and those who lived within its walls.

It's a truly splendid place to visit and would definitely recommend visiting if you're visiting the Loire Valley: it is kid-friendly thanks to the gardens, donkey park and maze, and nature lovers will love the grounds there. Although some of the gardens are wheelchair friendly the castle sadly is not. You can visit their website here to know more about tickets and opening hours!

I can't wait to share the rest of the pictures we took here and of course share more wonderful facts about it. We haven't posted anything in 10 days which is very unlike us, however an unintentional break might just have been what we needed to get some writing and content inspiration!

Summer x

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