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7, Luna Sanders, Castle Research Project
Transcript of 7, Luna Sanders, Castle Research Project
The Chateau de Chenonceau is located in Chateaux, a small town in the Loire Valley of France.
The Loire Valley is like the fairytale France many people imagine. It's where many vineyards and flowers make their home. Not only is it a beautiful place to site-visit, the Loire Valley also includes many famous Cathedrals, including the ancient Chartres and Tours.
The castle spans the river Cher and was built on the site of an old fort. Some of the original interior decorations are still visible - such as the majolica floors. The first floor plan was square with round, corbelled turrets at every corner. At first there were meant to be three symmetrical elevations. However, the east front is interrupted with the projections of the library and chapel. On the inside there are four main rooms parting from the ground floor. Off a corridor there is a staircase in the unusual style of Itlianette, which doubles back on itself rather than spiraling like usual French architecture. Off the south front there is a five arched bridge which holds two story gallery on top of it. After the castle was passed on, Diane de Poitiers inherited it and added a garden.
Diane de Poiteir's Short History
A mistress is someone that a married man sees other than his wife, to Henry II Diane de Poitiers was his "mistress". Regardless, when she accepted the castle she became strongly attached to it, and started to remake it in a way by adding gardens and renovations. She devoted much money into creating it as one of the most fabulous places in France. Her bedroom was luxurious and her gardens elaborate. Diane was content to live there with Henry. However, after the death of the king his real wife Catherine de Medici was finally able to take the castle as her own. She had always admired it, but now it was legal for her to take it right out from under Diane. Catherine tried to erase all evidence of Diane from the castle but there were many inscribed initials in the wall that declared Henry and Diane's love for each other. Luckily Catherine didn't destroy Diane's gorgeous garden, instead she grew another wonderful one right next to it, so they could forever rival each other forever. Sadly, the beautiful castle's worth was greatly reduced after Catherine's death. The upkeep was no longer important and the once grand castle became less favored among French citizens.
Original Purpose (And Inhabitants)
The Chateau's original structure was destroyed, but the castle still standing today was built for Catherine Briconnet and her husband Thomas Bohier. The castle had mainly feminine influence from the many females who worked to improve it. Often times it is called the "Chateau of the Ladies" or the "Ladie's Chateau", for it was women supervisors that added most to the beauty the Chateau de Chenonceau has today. At first it was Thomas Boheir and Catherine Briconnet's home, but after King Henry II took it from the indebted Boheir it became his home with his mistress Diane de Poitiers. They inscribed their initials in many walls of the castle just to declare their unfailing love for each other. It then became the property of Catherine de Medici, who built another garden like Poitier's and changed much of the style.
As mentioned before, the Chateau de Chenonceau is located in the Loire Valley of France. However, its more prominent surrounding is the lake that circles it until the back garden connects to land. This lake is actually the Cher River. Right off the Cher is a dense forest that also adds to the feeling of a fairytale that most of the Loire Valley maintains. The two gardens of the competing women still stand in the back and are as beautiful as ever.
The Exact Address is: Chenonceaux 37150, 33 2 47 23 90 07
Google Maps Coordinates
47 degrees 19 minutes 29 seconds N, 1 degree 4 minutes 13 seconds E
Chateau de Chenonceau is 56 meters in height and 12,000 square meters in size. This is also 183 feet (and 8.72 inches) in height and 39,370 square feet in size.
Loire Valley Fairytale
Special Purpose Rooms
Special Purpose Rooms
The Chateau de Chenonceau was not like the usual castles that kings have, where they take their prisoners and torture them. It was more of a home for many people passed on. There is no known torture chamber. In fact, most of the castle is constructed like that of a house. It held the bedrooms from the inhabitants, a kitchen, an ornate hall and a Guard's room. The bedrooms were all finely detailed with beautiful furniture and tapestries. The kitchen has a butchery and a rotisserie. The pantry is a commonly visited part of the castle for tourists. The halls of each floor have beautiful architecture and many of the original structures that still stand are in great shape. The Guard's room was built as a place the armed men could rest, it leads directly into the chapel. There is also a gallery which Catherine built, and during a war it was a common place for refugees. Also, the castle has its very own chapel! It is small but very beautiful, there is a replica of the original stained glass today. All across the castle there are wonderful floral arrangements which relate to its former times when the women did actually decorate the castle with elaborate bouquets.
Legends and Ghosts
Sometimes, when the moon is full, a wavering image of Catherine de Medici brushing the hair of her rival, Diane de Poiteirs can be seen. Other times, Diane has been noticed standing in front of her bedroom mirror unhappily. Lastly, there is the more well known legend of the white queen. For this story there is some background information needed:
Louise de Loarraine-Vaudemont was Henry II's wife, however many saw here as "unfit" for queen. She already had suffered a hard childhood and was weak and not determined. She worshiped her husband, so when he was assassinated she got very depressed. She painted everything in her room black, even the floor. She became very pale and sickly looking and awlays wore the traditional mourning color of white. Before her death she could be seen roaming the halls without direction in a very dejected way. Now, the legend is that she has been seen walking (or floating) through the halls of the chateau always looking incredibly depressed. She was always wearing white and sometimes, people have said, she's shown up in pictures looking at them as if to ask them to bring back her husband.
Current State, Purpose and Inhabitants
The castle has passed hands many, many, many times, and each owner has contributed a bit to the castle. I will start with the original foundation that was owned by Jean Marques. Sadly, it was torched as punishment to Jean. It was then passed to is heir Pierre Marques, who was forced to sell the castle to Thomas Bohier. He immediately destroyed it. He rebuilt it with a strong influence from his wife Catherine Briconnet, who hosted French nobility often. The castle passed a generation, but the castle was taken from Bohier’s son by King Francis I for unpaid debts. When Francis died, his successor Henry II gave it to Diane de Poitiers (his mistress) as a gift. She loved the castle and created a fantastic garden and bridge connecting it to the castle. However, Catherine de Medici had her eye on the castle. After Henry died Catherine forced Diane to leave the castle. Catherine added another garden to the already pretty chateau. Catherine held elaborate parties at the castle, and the first French fireworks were spotted there to show the ascension of her son Francis II to the throne. When Catherine died the castle went to her daughter-in-law, Louise de Lorraine-Vaudemont, wife of King Henry III. This was also the place she was told of her husband’s assassination and fell into a state of depression. Gabrielle d'Estrees, the favorite of King Henry IV, took over the chateau for a short amount of time. Then, Louise's heir Cesar of Vendôme and his wife, Francoise of Lorraine, Duchess of Vendome, inherited the castle. In 1720 the Chateau de Chenonceau was bought by the Duke of Bourbon. He sold statues and ornaments from the castle little by little. Many of the finest statues are now in the Versailles. A squire named Claude Dupin bought the actual land. Madame Louise Dupin (Claude’s wife) , helped to reanimate the castle by hosting The Enlightenment: Voltaire, Montesquieu, Buffon, Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle,Pierre de Marivaux, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. During the French Revolution, she was the one who saved it from destruction of both the Revolution and the Revolutionary Guard. Also, she is said to be the one who changed the spelling of the name from Chenonceaux (with an X) to Chenonceau. A Scotsman named Daniel Wilson bought it for his daughter. Lastly, the chocolate famous Menier family bought the chateau and still owns it today.
The Chateau de Chenonceau's current purpose is for pictures and projects. It isn't used as a castle anymore, and instead is a frequently visited tourist attraction. It is great for entertainment, and may help increase value of France. It is in a pretty good state currently, with one wall that is closed off due to repairs that are needed. The furniture that is inside the chateau has all been restored and recreated with great care. It is all made to resemble the original. There is no one living in the castle permanently, except its ghosts. There may be a groundskeeper that comes every so often to make sure everything is in order, but the owner keeps the castle open for tours, not as a home.
Even More Pictures
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