Unfortunately today our luck ran out with the weather, we woke to grey cloudy skies and they really didn't abate all day.
So sadly we seen these chateaus not at their very best.
That being said they were pretty amazing.
Chambord was built by King Francis the 1st as a hunting lodge and was apparently never completed. The roof line is a mass of chimneys and turrets and towers and reminded me of a city skyline. The chimney's and turrets ect had inlaid pieces of slate to add decorative effect. To say this Chateau is huge would be an understatement. When you enter on the ground floor the chateau is built in a cross shape and these rooms were huge, with large fireplaces and tapestries on the walls. At the centre of the cross is a double helix staircase. Reputably designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
Some of the rooms were beautifully furnished, there was a portrait of the young Marie Antoinette in the above room ( which you can't see in the image) Chambord was never lived in by the royal family for any period of time and was reputed to be hard to heat, which I would totally believe. Sadly as it was drizzling rain and very cold we didn't wander the grounds, so possibly missed some of the most beautiful aspects of the castle. But I quite enjoyed visiting.
Chenonceau also known as Chateau des dames (castle of ladies) was by far both myn and Gadgets favourite of all the chateau's we have seen. Chenonceau was built in 1513, it was started by Thomas Boheir however when he had to go to war his wife Katherine continued building the Chateau. The Boheirs son lost the chateau to the royal family due to debts and in 1547 King Henry the 2nd gave it to his mistress ( and long time love) Diane de Poitiers, when Henry died in 1559 his wife Catherine de Medici , took possession of the castle. Providing Diane with another chateau.
Diane s room.
The original castle was small and needed a " larger area " for society and court activities. So Diane came up with the idea of extending the chateau across the river, to the furthest bank. During her time Diane managed to achieve the building of the bridge. When Catherine took over, she had the three stories added to the bridge creating a reception gallery on two levels and accomodation on the third. The chateau's kitchens were built into the arch's of the bridge. Catherine planned to build further on the opposite bank of the river, however ran out of time and money.
The room of the five queens. Five queens of France slept in this s room, all of them either the daughters or daughter in laws of Catherine de Medici. Including Mary queen of Scots, whom at 14 married Catherine's eldest son in Notredame in Paris.
The chateau also planned major roles during the wars. In WW1 the galleries were used as a hospital, for injured soldiers and during WW2 the chateau was used to escape from Nazi occupied France to unoccupied France, the river was the boundary of occupation therefore, people were assisted across the castles bridge / galleries to unoccupied France and to safety.
Although I haven't shown them in the images, every room in this chateau was filled with beautiful floral arrangements. In one room a large rectangle vase was filled with roses and greenery, the scent of the roses as you entered the room was just lovely.
They also had several of the Chateau's fireplaces working, which was lovely since it was such a cold day. The gardens were lovely and although their was a large crowd it all seemed to flow very well. Definetly worth a visit.
We gained more confidence out and about on the road, although we were really wondering where our GPS was guiding us as we headed down narrow little lanes, amongst ancient farmhouses and tiny villages.
Although cold it was a lovely day. My only sadness was that the photos taken didn't show the true brilliance of these fairy book castles due to grey dark skies.