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 Loire Valley Chateaux - Cheverny

 

 

 

 

Cheverny is a rare thing within the Loire Valley - a chateau that appears untouched by the Renaissance. This could have a lot to do with the fact that it has remained in the same family, the Huraults, for six centuries. Built sometime between 1604 and 1635,depending on whose account you read, the 17th century chateau is built in pure Louis XIII classical style with a rigid symmetry.The look is softened by the architect’s use of different roof styles from bell towers to domes.

 

 The chateau you see today is as it was originally built and the feeling of stepping back in time is only enhanced by a visit inside where it is impressively decorated and furnished. As with many of the Loire chateaux ladies played a major part in its construction and decoration with Marguerite Gaillard (Mrs Huraults ) directing the build and her daughter completing the decoration.   

 

The chateau is still owned by descendents of the original builders, the Hurault family and has retained an intimate charm. The interior reflects a living history of the generations of the family. The largest room, The Arms Room contains weapons, tapestry, chests, trunks and a carved wood chimney piece painted by Jean Monier in the 17th century. There are priceless tapestries all through the chateau as well as paintings and rare furnishings.

   

 

 

   

 

The care and affection lavished upon this chateau is apparent from top to bottom. The dining room is decorated with wood panels, telling the story of Don Quichotte. The room contains a beautiful fireplace and dresser from the 19th century. There is also a treasure hunt for the children to entertain them as they walk through the chateau.

 

 

The opening of the chateau to the public keeps these magnificent buildings preserved for future generations to see and enjoy.
 

   

 

 

 

The grounds of chateau de Cheverny with its large lawns and flower beds can be explored on foot or by hiring a golf cart for a more leisurely tour or you can ride a boat on the canal.    

 

There is an orangey within the grounds that was used during the second world war as a safe haven for many works of art from the Louvre in Paris, including the Mona Lisa.  The grounds are a great spot to bring a picnic lunch - with an area set out just for that purpose

   

 

 

 

When walking around the grounds you can hear the hounds that still lead the chase as has been done since the 17th century.The kennels by the main entrance are home to over 100 hounds and feeding time (5pm) is an exhibition in itself.

   

 

 

The chateau de Cheverny's architecture, minus the two extreme towers, was the inspiration behind Herge’s Marlinspike Hall the home of cartoon character Tintin’s friend Captain Haddock. This has led to the estate and The Herge Foundation building a permanent exhibition on site under the banner ’The Secrets of Marlinspike Hall.

   

 

 

 

 

The exhibition is obviously a must for Tintin fans but even they might be disappointed at it's content - a little 'flat' with its picture boards and well worn 'reveal' doors giving you a taste of the characters. There are a few room settings with the main room coming alive with a telephone ringing-which should be answered in French-and the effects of lightning and glass breaking but today's kids will  not be terribly excited by it.

 

 

 

Probably on its own it would not justify the visit but added to the chateau it makes for a good day out. You can purchase different tickets giving you the option of simply viewing the chateau or a combination of this with the exhibition and/or gardens.

   

 

 

 

 

There is ample parking within easy reach of the chateau and  a lovely village setting giving you a number of eating options, which are reasonably priced considering their location, if you prefer this to taking a picnic.

Very good official website:

http://www.chateau-cheverny.fr/

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Author: Jim Craig"

 

 

 

 

 

Rentals

 

Choose a village house to rent in the Loire Valley direct from the owners.

 

 

'Les Balcons'

Sleeps up to 6

Le Grand Pressigny

 

 

 

'Le Bourg'

Sleeps up to 6

Barrou

 

 

 

'Les Tilleuls'

Sleeps 6-8

Barrou

 

 

 

'La Charlerie'

Sleeps 2

Barrou

 

 

'Les Nocereaux'

Sleeps 6

Barrou/rural