Chenonceau is located close to the city of Tours and the castle Amboise. It is architecturally unique compared to the other castles discussed. It is built on the French river Cher. Chenonceau use to belong to the Marques family from 1243 to 1512. It was a fortified manor with a mill standing on strong pillars embedded in the granite river bed. In 1512, one of the Marques descendants sold the house due to financial debt.
Thomas Bohier and his wife Catherine Briconnet later resided in Chenonceau. They rebuilt or renewed most of the building except for the austere building. Later after the death of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bohier, their son Antoine inherited the home. However, Antoine had outstanding debts to the government. Francis I made an arrangement with Antoine Bohier. Antoine exchanged the property of Chenonceau for the riddance of his fines.
Later the property was given to Diane of Pointers by Henry II. Diane managed and harnessed Chenonceau to serve her interests. She wanted to turn her home so that it would compare with the finest royal palaces in France. She added a lavish garden in 1551 that was watered by the La Roche fountain. Many gardeners, designers, and architects were hired to seek a perfect connection between the castle and nature. After Henry II died from a jousting wound, Queen Catherine took over the throne. Diane was demanded to return all jewels and her enchanting home. In return, Chaumont, another castle, was given to Diane.
Queen Catherine took up residence in Chenonceau after she ordered Diane out. Queen Catherine decided to expand the building. She used a plan recommended by Philibert Delorme. She commissioned a two-floor gallery to be built over the arches of the bridge over the Cher river. The architect, Androuet du Cerceau, constructed this gallery between 1580 and 1585. She also improved the garden by adding foreign plants. Before Queen Catherine's death, Chenonceau was given to her daughter-in-law, Louise of Vaudemont.
It was later passed on to Louise of Vaudemont's niece Francoise of Mercour, who was married to Cesar, Duke of Vendome. Claude Dupin bought the castle in 1733 from the Duke of Bourbon. Lady Dupin attracted many advocates of the Age of Enlightenment including Montesquier, Voltaire, and Buffon due to the beauty of the property. In 1864, Madame Pelouze purchased Chenonceau and restored the building to make it look as it was originally designed. The Menier family has owned the castle since 1913.
1. Armel De Wismes, Baron, The Loire Castles: English Edition, Artaud Freres Publications,