Chateau de Chenonceau, Chenonceaux Tourist Attractions
The little village of Chenonceaux (pop. 325) lies on the north bank of the Cher. The Château de Chenonceau (without the x) was built from 1513 onwards on the site of an earlier building by Charles VII's treasurer, but was later surrendered to the crown. In 1547 Henry II presented it to his favorite Diane de Poitiers, who was later forced by Henry's widow Catherine de Médicis to exchange it for Chaumont. Thereafter it was the scene of splendid entertainments. In the 18th C. the château became the property of a tax-farmer named Dupin, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau lived here for some time as tutor to his son.The château is still in private ownership, but it is open to the public. It is approached by a fine avenue of plane-trees, at the end of which a drawbridge leads on to a terrace in front of the entrance. The central structure of the château, the Corps de Logis, with four corner towers, is built over the Cher. Beyond this is a two-story gallery built by Catherine de Médicis, also built over the river. The two lower floors, which are shown to visitors, contain pictures and tapestries. On both sides of the château are gardens laid out by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médicis.This garden is divided into three sections, the first with a raised path, the second with clipped santolina and yew, and the third with roses and pools. Beyond this is an ancient woodland of oak and chestnut.