Visit Chateau de Cheverny in the Loire Valley

Photo of Chateau de Cheverny

Chateau de Cheverny visitor guide and history

The castle of Cheverny, is located between Blois and Chambord and a few kilometres below Cheverny village, and is one of the best preserved castles in all of France - and well worth visiting to admire the highly original works of antique kept there and for its architecture, in both classical and Renaissance styles.

The castle of Cheverny, begun around 1500, was concluded in a few years between 1604 and about 1634 by the Hurault Family and it welcomes visitors with a road 6 kilometres long, wide and lush gardens and a stream. It has a rectangular base, at the corners of which stand four pavilions, and, apparently, the overall design of the building was the work of Jacques Bougier (the architect of Blois) and Jean Mosnier (1600-1656), who respectively headed the construction and decoration of the castle.

The interior decorations were also performed by other artists, such as Francois Clouet (1515-1572) and Pierre Mignard (1610-1695), who painted many very well-known portraits of historical figures.

The main façade of the castle is made entirely of stone ‘Bourré’, which hardens and becomes whiter with the passing of centuries. The staircase and landing (on which we see two huge moose antlers) are in the Italian Renaissance style. The armoury is undoubtedly the largest room of the castle and one of the most characteristic, because in it many original decorations (XVII century) are preserved. The ceiling is made with exposed beams, according to the style called ‘French’. The wood panels are a nice curiosity, both for their floral decorations and for inscriptions in Latin. Over the fireplace in carved and gilded scenes from the story of Adonis and Venus are depicted, in front of a tapestry (XVII century) depicting the abduction of Helen. Under the tapestry, there is armour, which one said to have belonged to the Count of Chambord.

In the hall there is a remarkable collection of weapons (XV and XVI century) consists of halberds, swords, muskets and pistols. Some trunks and travelling trunks are also original and date back to the seventeenth century; a trunk with the arms of France and Navarre, which, they say, belonged to Henry IV (1553-1610).

In the so-called ‘Large Room’, which was restored in the nineteenth century, stand out the portraits of Philippe Hurault (1528-1599), the chancellor of the King, and his wife Anne of Thou, by Francois Clouet. Above the doors are portraits of Louis XIII (1601-1643) and Queen Anne of Austria (1601-1666). In front of the fireplace stands a youthful portrait of Cosimo de Medici (1519-1574), attributed to Tiziano (1490-1576) and another of Joan of Aragon (1479-1555), by the workshop of Raffaello (1483-1520). Some furniture and several tapestries are original, and all dating to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The Gallery houses more works by Francois Clouet, like an oval portrait of Jeanne d'Albret (1528-1572), mother of Henry IV and one of the abbot from Rancè. In the small drawing room there are many family portraits, including that of Count Henry Hurault (died in 1594), the manufacturer of Cheverny. Other paintings date from the eighteenth century, such as the portrait of the Marquise de Vibraye, by Maurice Quentin de la Tour (1704-1788), while some paintings of landscapes are by Hubert Robert (1733-1808), author of the famous views of ancient ruins. Among the furniture of considerable antiquity and prestige, we include a chest of drawers dating back to the age of Louis XV (1710-1744) and a table decorated with marble and a deer's head, a recurring motive in the castle.

The Library contains two thousand antique books, bound in different leathers and some decorated with family crests. The furniture style is ‘First Empire’; the desk is signed ‘Jacob’, who was the official supplier of Napoleon (1769-1821).

The inside walls of the Large Tapestries Room are lined by five Flemish tapestries (XVII century), in which are depicted various scenes of daily life, such as the ‘Sleep around the new born’, the ‘Bowlers’ and ‘Knights of the fountain’; there are also a desk and a secretaire Louis XV,  and a red clock of style Louis XV. The dining room has been partially restored in the nineteenth century, with furniture of the seventeenth century: the ceilings and walls are covered with leather of Cordova with the arms of Hurault, while on the stone fireplace there is a bust of Henry V. On the walls, in addition, there are some original paintings by Jean Mosnier, which cover the wood panelling depicting scenes from ‘Don Quixote’ by Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616).

The Furniture (XIX century), with the crest of the Hurault Family, is carved in oak. Over the fireplace in carved and gilded decoration are depicted scenes from the story of Adonis and Venus, in front of a tapestry (XVII century) depicting the abduction of Helen. Under the tapestry, there is armour, which, they say, belonged to the Count of Chambord.

In the spacious King's Chamber, reserved for guests, is inlaid furniture with scenes telling stories of adventure and romance. Over the fireplace and coffered ceiling, Jean Mosnier painted the story of Perseus and Andromeda. At the bottom of the walls can be seen some scenes of love and of Theagene and Charicle, one of the most famous Greek novels. Another six tapestries (XVII century) narrate the adventures of Odysseus. The canopy bed is entirely covered with embroidered silk fabrics, which, they say, has been in the castle from the outset.

Map of Chateau de Cheverny & places nearby

Castle Town village

Selected places to visit in or near Chateau de Cheverny, Loire Valley