The most iconic of the Touraine Loire Valley chateaux.
|Chateau de Chenonceau.|
A morning or afternoon spent at the most famous of the Touraine Loire Valley chateau. The chateau sits in the River Cher, reflected in the slow moving water and surrounded by formal gardens and peaceful parkland. You will learn about its royal occupants, their intrigues and loves, as well as the chateau's earlier humbler history and its role in world events in modern times.
We will start by approaching the famous chateau by the impressive driveway, just as the visitors of old would have done! I'll tell stories of its history before it was a royal chateau and we will go out on to the terrace of Diane de Poitiers garden to view the exterior in its entirety. This enables you to understand the chronology of the building and the history of its owners.
Then we will go inside to explore the magnificent interior. We can easily spend over an hour inside there is so much to see (especially at Christmas time when the house is decorated even more extravagantly) but finally we will emerge to visit the stables.
|Painted decoration in Louise of Lorraine's bedchamber.|
*Meet outside the Chateau de Chenonceau visitor centre.
*Enter the grounds and go to the terrace of Diane de Poitiers garden.
*Visit the interior of the chateau.
*Visit the stables.
*Walk through the gardens and farmyard.
*I will leave you at the entrance.
|Conservator working on a gilded frame. Visitors are allowed to watch when conservation work is going on.|
Duration: 3 hours.
This tour is easy to customise or extend to lunch in a nearby restaurant and/or a walk along the River Cher, or even a visit to a winery (if you have your own transport). Email me for a price.
|View of the chateau from the other side of the river.|
This is a walking tour. At the Chateau of Chenonceau the paths are compacted gravel. There are some stairs.
|Security is strict at the entrance. The sign also warns dogs to beware of the 'guard cat' Noisette.|
Price: €200 for groups of up to 4 people. Admission tickets are not included.
|Front facade of the chateau.|
Booking: email firstname.lastname@example.org at least one day before you wish to take the tour. Tours can be conducted on any day of the week, throughout the year, at a time to suit you.
|There are some pleasingly bizarre things in the collection at Chenonceau. We think this ox was probably made for an agricultural show parade.|
Review of this Tour: Susan was very knowledgeable and interesting to listened. She brought the chateau to life telling us many intriguing details about the history of both the people who lived there and the times they lived in. I wish we could take another tour with her. The only downside is now I know I am not capturing all there is to know about other places I visit in the Loire valley. I highly recommend taking a tour with Susan.
|The chateau seen from Diane de Poitiers' garden.|
About the Guide: I am Susan Walter. I specialise in story telling, the weaving together of this fact and that, this character and their relationship with another. It is a technique which brings alive the history of what is sometimes just stones to look at, but those stones may lead to something wonderfully evocative and provide a better understanding of the past. Much of the history of the Loire Valley is about important characters which you will have heard of, but there is a great deal of hidden history too -- characters who have been forgotten in modern times, motivations for deeds which seem inexplicable can become clear, how different life was then, but also how similar. If you want to know who would graffiti a royal chapel and why, and why it isn't who most guides will tell you it is, then take a tour with me. If you want to know about the history of bathing and personal hygiene, and how that isn't quite what you think it is, then take a tour with me. If you want to meet fascinating characters from history who really made a difference, often women, then take a tour with me.
|View from the balcony of the chateau.|
English speaking, born and raised in Australia, I lived for 12 years in England, where I worked for the National Trust in their Historic Buildings Conservation Department, and now in the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Loire Valley for more than a decade. I am an active heritage and nature conservation professional with experience of working with conservators and curators to care for historic objects and buildings, and with ecologists caring for our natural environment. Deeply embedded in the local scene I speak quite good French and enjoy life in a small village near some fabulous chateaux and lovely countryside. I'm always happy to talk about life in France and am friends with many wine makers and local food producers. I love to cook and to eat and will make sure you have an authentic dining experience while you are in the Loire Valley. Interested in the quirky and little known local histories, and I can't wait to pass them on to you.
|Inside the apothecary.|