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



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).


2013-09-07 12.46.27

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


2013-09-07 13.03.02


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!

2013-09-07 12.54.57


2013-09-07 12.50.55

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. 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.

  3. 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!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: