Château de Chonenceau

Château de Chonenceau
Château de Chonenceau
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Under the name of Castles of the Loire we usually group together a set of buildings of a palatial nature that were built in the French region of the Loire around the fifteenth century and more especially in the sixteenth century, in the stage that It is known as the French Renaissance. The Loire region was a very prosperous and rich valley in which many of the most powerful families of the time had settled, hence multiple fortifications were built in the area.

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The following is one of these palatial complexes, perhaps one of the most widely known, both for its artistic beauty and for being a strategic enclave in the history of France, known as Château de Chonenceau. The work that we see today began to be built in the first half of the 16th century, however, documentary evidence of previous constructions has been found, which date back even to the beginning of the 11th century. At this time, there was already a primitive castle belonging to the Marques family that was demolished due to a royal order. On the ruins of this first complex, the Marques family had a fortified mill and a tower built in the 15th century, which served as the base and foundations for the complex that we see today.

Various economic and palace intrigues caused the Chonenceau complex to end up in the hands of the French monarch Henry II who handed over thepalace to his favorite mistress Diane de Poitiers. The king's mistress ordered the construction of a large bridge linking the Castle of Bohier with the right bank of the river to install his gardens right there. The famous aristocrat was hardly able to enjoy its construction since, with the hasty death of the king, the queen regent, Catherine de Médicis, put an end to her claims and made her return the castle to the French crown. Catherine had a gallery with rectangular windows built on the same bridge that Diana de Poitiers built.

Architecturally, the castle has a quadrangular floor plan and two different access entrances, one of which goes directly to the foundations of the old tower where the kitchens were built; the main entrance used by the nobles presents an access to the hall from where the four wings of the palace open and where we find some of the main rooms of the palace, each one of them on one side of the square.

Also from that same lobby we find direct access to the aforementioned gallery that Catherine de Médicis built on the Diana de Poitiers bridge and where the French monarch Francis I built the room that bears his name, just as he would later do Louis XIV with his apartments.

In the castle two landscaped complexes stand out, on the one hand the Diana de Poitiers Gardens, raised on terraces over the riverbank and with a unique conception for its time. They have their own jetty. On the other hand, the gardens of Catalina deMédicis are just as impressive, with a more personal character, the complex is organized around a central pond.

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