After leaving the city of Amboise it was a 30 minute drive to Chenonceau to see the castle and the gardens there. Admission was only 26€ ($39) because we didn’t rent the little headphones for the tour. We found the dialogue cheesy and a little pompous. They gave us a free guide book and that contained all of the information we needed. We also avoided going on the dreaded tour again with a large group of people following their guide around with his flag. This way we got to hang out longer at exhibits we liked and move on when we found a room less interesting. The grounds surrounding the castle are gorgeous. There are lots of trails used by the nobility to ride, hunt or go for long walks. As you arrive at the castle there are 4-5 different French gardens. Marian, my mom, would love them! They have every type of plant and each garden has a theme. As well, there is a labyrinth made from hedges. We did it pretty quickly and were very fortunate we did not see Jack Nicholson.The main entrance to the castle was a very wide road that was tree lined. It was so rare to see a road this wide. The King was making a statement. Beside the road were these little streams that were filled with Green Tea Lattes from Starbucks. (Well at least it looks like that)
The castle was built over a long period of time. So many kings and queens supervised the construction. There are clearly different styles within the same castle. Le dongeon or the keep was built first while the moat and the first part of the castle were built. Then a bridge was added to cross the Indres River. Finally Catherine Medici added the huge ballroom and art gallery over the bridge. Lots of parties and dancing! UWe finally made our way up to the top two floors and saw the residences. This castle was one of the few that was not ransacked during the French Revolution. Because of art work collection and the academic work of some of the people who stayed there a banker by the name of Bedard was able to convince the masses that this chateau was a place of culture not the spoils of the rich. As a result, every pot and pan, every picture and tapestry and all the furniture was left in tact.