The history of Chenonceau Castle, the ladies' castle

It is one of the smallest castles in France. But nevertheless, the beauty and history of Chenonceau Castle catch those who visit it. Its delicate forms and the role of several women in that history have made it known as the ladies' castle. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Loire Valley area, you can't miss it!

The castle of the ladies, a jewel in the Loire Valley

Chenonceau Castle - Antoine2K

Its location stands out from the castle, as it is in the middle of the Cher River. The river, placid and calm as a lake most days, reflects the white surface of the castle stone and the delicate towers, forming an unforgettable image.

The whiteness and the refined air that this castle possesses made it popular as the ladies' castle. Even though his delicate forms are not the only reason he receives that nickname.

Through the centuries, powerful women have built Chenonceau, they have maintained, expanded, loved, fought for him and provided him with a place in history. Next, we will talk about some of them and their role in the Chenonceau castle history.

1. Katherine Briçonnet, first lady in the history of Chenonceau Castle

Chenonceau Castle - Gaspar Janos

Katherine Briçonnet is the first of the ladies of Chenonceau Castle. Her husband and she acquired the property in 1496 and they replaced the medieval castle and the mill that had a new castle.

It was Katherine who oversaw all the details of the construction, since her husband was working out for the king.

2. Diana de Poitiers, the mistress of Henry II of France

Shortly after, the castle became the property of the king and was under the control of Henry II of France, in whose life there were two important women: Catalina de Médici, his wife, and Diana de Poitiers, her lover.

Henry II gave control of the castle to his lover, which angered the queen. Diana showed her talent for business and developed a successful farm in the castle.

The farm's benefits served to expand Chenonceau and build the most spectacular gardens of the time. In addition, he built a bridge over the river.

3. Catalina de Médici, the wife of Henry II

Chenonceau Castle - Viacheslav Lopatin

After Henry II died, Catalina de Médici kicked Diana out of the castle and took control. On the opposite side of the castle, Catalina built her own garden. In addition, he put two galleries on Diana's bridge.

He transformed his rival's vineyards into a place dedicated to sericulture. It produced a silk of the highest quality that became famous throughout the world and was known as "the queen's fabric."

4. Louise Dupin: the savior of the castle

Another of the important women in Chenonceau's history was Louise Dupin. So important that He managed to avoid a terrible fate for this beautiful castle.

When, during the French Revolution, the revolutionaries intended to destroy it by being a symbol of the excesses of royalty, Dupin les remembered that many of his heroes: Voltaire, Rousseau, etc. they had stayed there and thus saved Chenonceau.

5. The Menier: when Chenonceau became a hospital

Chenonceau Castle - bannkie

At the beginning of the 20th century, the war reached Chenonceau. The Menier family turned the castle into a hospital for the wounded of World War I. An operating room was created and more than 120 beds were introduced to accommodate the injured.

The Menier family paid all expenses and helped 2,254 wounded soldiers. Simone Menier was the head nurse and ran the hospital with her husband.

During World War II, Chenonceau played an important role in the French resistance. In June 1940 France lost a decisive battle and split in two. The line that separated the French territory controlled by the Nazis from the free passed through the river Cher.

A part of the bridge was controlled by the Nazis but the castle was free. Although there were German guards patrolling the river, Simone Menier opened the doors of the bridge's galleries whenever the guards were gone. Thus he helped hundreds of Jews and French to escape.

As you have seen, the history of Chenonceau Castle is exciting, thanks to the incessant struggle of the women who have lived in it. If you are lucky enough to visit the Loire Valley, be sure to stop by Chenonceau and get carried away by the force of these women.