Visit Chateau de Cheverny
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 both to admire the classical and Renaissance architecture of the chateau and the sumptuously furnished interior.
Explore the Chateau de Cheverny
The Chateau de Cheverny was built in the early 17th century by the Hurault family to a design inspired by the Palais de Luxembourg in Paris. It was designed by Jacques Bougier who was the architect of Blois. It has remained in the Hurault family for six centuries. It did not suffer during the French Revolution as its owner at the time was was an Ambassader and managed to avoid the worst using his skills of diplomacy!
The main façade of the castle is made entirely of stone ‘Bourré’, which hardens and becomes whiter with the passing of centuries. The north facade is built in Louis XIII style whilst the south side is decorated with busts of Roman emperors which was very fashionable since the Renaissance.
The Chateau de Cheverny probably had the most decorated rooms of any of our visits to Loire valley castles during our tour of the area and the quality of the decorations is impressive.
The rooms include the kings bedroom which was reserved for the king and important guests and has a beautifully painted ceiling by Jean Mosnier depicting the story of Perseus and Andromeda. Many of the furnishings date to the 16th and 17th centuries. The bed looks small but it is an illusion and measures 1.6X2m however it could have been made smaller as it was the custom at the time to sleep sitting up. Laying down was for the dead!
Another beautifully decorated room is the large salon whose painted panels were restored in the ninteenth century. Portraits of the family hang on the walls and include works by Mignard, Titien and the workshop of Raffaello. Some furniture and several tapestries are original, and date to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The staircase and landing are in the Italian Renaissance style and you can see a pair of massive antlers belonging to an Irish Elk from 6000 years ago. These were a gift to one of the Marquis de Vibraye (descendents of the Herault) who was a keen collector in the 19th century.
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 painted beams and the wood panels are painted with floral decorations and inscriptions in Latin. The room contains a large collection of arms and armour including one said to have belonged to the Count of Chambord. The transformation in various castles of large rooms into armouries was due to a 19th century taste for romanticism and chivalry.
Other rooms include a library of 2000 antique book, many 16th and 17th century tapestries and a suite of rooms decorated in Empire style.
Chateau de Cheverny Gardens
Outside the gardens include more than just a large park which surrounds many of the castles of the Loire. Here there is indeed a beautiful park with a large variety of mature trees and a canal running through the property which you can explore by boat or electric car.
However there is also a beautifully gardened section between the chateau and the orangery which is a pleasure to explore. Whilst overall formal in style with a formal pool and geometric patterns there are also areas of roses and perennials in a softer planting style. The orangery at the other end of the gadens is a lovely building and has been converted into a tea room selling tea and cakes and light lunches.
There is also a maze which is particularly popular with children and if you visit in spring there is a large tulip garden planted with over 100 000 tulips.
Near to the entrance is a beautifully laid out potager (vegetable garden) which is both ornamental and very productive. The potager also grows the cut flowers for decorating the rooms of the chateau.
Chateau de Cheverny Kennels
The Cheverny kennels were created in 1850 to house the hunt dogs. Today there are more than a hundred hounds which are a cross between English Fox Hounds and French Poitevins. You can visit the kennels and if you visit at 11.30 am you can be there for feeding time (every day except for Tuesdays and weekends in low-season).
Hergé (the pen name of Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi) used the Chateau de Cheverny as his inspiration for Marlinspike Hall in his famous Tintin book. In acknowledgement of this the Chateau de Cheverny have opened a mTintin exhibition in collaboration with the Hergé museum.
Life-size reproductions of the adventures of Tintin, Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus are on display.
Places to Visit Nearby
Cheverny castle is in the heart of the Loire Valley and so close to many of the Loire valley castles. One of the most famous, the Chateau de Chambord is very close as is Blois and the Chateau de Blois. Garden lovers will want to visit the Chateau de Chaumont, home to the Chaumont-sur-Loire International Garden Festival.