More On Chenonceau

You may remember from the last post that after Henry II died, his widow Catherine de Medici moved into Chenonceau, forcing out the King’s mistress. (There is a soap opera aspect to these dynastic histories.)

Catherine's garden at Chenonceau
Catherine’s garden at Chenonceau

Catherine made her own garden, also with a view of the Cher River (not the Loire, as I previously wrote). It is another formal garden, though less symmetrical, and with a pool at the center rather than a fountain.

Rose standards at Chenonceau
Rose standards in Catherine’s garden

 

Chenonceau

The most notable flowers in Catherine’s garden were the many roses, both standards and climbers. (At this point in the day the light was beginning to fade, and that affected the pictures.)  Beds are filled with lilac Petunias, white Begonias, and silver Artemesia.

Chenonceau Medici gallery
The grand gallery spanning the river Cher.
Medici gallery Chenonceau
What the gallery looks like inside (we did go inside the Chateau).

 

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Catherine’s garden provides good vantage points for viewing the Chateau, including the gallery she built over the length of the river. Her garden seems more linked to the Chateau than Diane’s.

Vegetable garden at Chenonceau
Vegetable garden at Chenonceau

 

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Zinnias in the cutting garden
Zinnias in the cutting garden

We also visited the vegetable and cutting gardens, which provide the Chateau with the flowers they use for indoor displays.  The vegetable garden was full of roses and annual flowers. And I loved the bright, multi-colored field of Zinnias!

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When we were ready to leave, we were startled to see a whole flotilla of hot air balloons approaching the chateau. One by one they sailed right up to the castle for a close look, then floated away. It was time for us to leave as well.

 

38 Comments on “More On Chenonceau

  1. Balloons flew over just as I was leaving Charmont chateau last year; it must be an organised way of viewing the chateau. Catherine came from a family of very keen gardeners and would have grown up in Florence with some of the most advanced gardens around her. She is reputed to have taken much of the culture of Florence to France when she married including many dishes we think of as French and the use of forks rather than just knives for eating.

    • Yes, I was wondering how these gardens compared to their contemporaries in Italy. It does seem Italy had a big civilizing influence on France in those days. Also, did you know that da Vinci lived his last years in Amboise?His old estate is now a museum, one of the things we didn’t get to see.

  2. The zinnias look so bright and happy. I like this garden more than the previous. More flowers and a little less formal.

  3. What a wonderful post, just imagine owning a place like that with such fantastic views and a garden to die for. I loved the ballons, what a marvelous finishing touch.xxx

  4. I’ve never been the biggest fan of formal gardens…but, up close, that one does have a bit of romantic flair, doesn’t it 🙂

  5. Nice. I like the vegetable and cutting garden best. When I move into the chateau I’ll choose a room which overlooks them. They could use a couple meatballs though 😉

  6. That is quite a place! The borders of petunias, begonias, and artemesia are really beautiful. I don’t think I would have thought of white and silver together but it really works well with the petunias.

  7. Thanks for sharing these pictures. In high school I was able to meet two teacher’s requirements, art and French, by illustrating the chateau. I never saw any decent pictures of the gardens until yours. I think I liked the vegetable and cutting gardens better than the formal gardens, which like you, are not my cup of tea.

  8. I like formality but can’t relate to either of these gardens. But then, they are about power and dominion, seeing and being seen, not for communing with nature. The estate is magnificent and I would visit time and again if I had the chance. What a wonderful day you enjoyed!

  9. Hi, I’m a digital artist with a magic realism style. Just wondered if I would be able to get permission to use the Gallery picture with the chequered floor for an idea I have? Thanks. Andy

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