We packed the Loire Valley into a one day trip, so after we saw the château at Blois we drove straight to the château at Cheverny. I think we all would have liked to spend more time in the Loire Valley, but France is so full of things to see and do that we had to rush through some parts. I’m sure I’ll come back here soon to see some other châteaux, do some outdoors activities, and drink wine.
The château de Cheverny is very elegant. It was very modern by comparison to the one at Blois since the original fortress from 1500 was rebuilt in 1624-1640, and not much remains from the 1500 structure. The grounds are impressive, with vast lawns and gorgeous gardens. It’s all very stately. You can tour the grounds in electric cars and boats. The château has been owned by the same family for more than 6 centuries (with a couple of temporary interruptions). The interesting thing about this château is that Marquis de Vibraye and his family still live in it! The public rooms are open everyday for visitors to tour, but there are private parts of the château (in the right wing) where the family still lives. Can you imagine?
The château itself is decorated beautifully. To me, the tour of the inside was
much more aesthetically pleasing than the one at Blois. It was decorated like a really lovely old home, with antique furnishings, decoration, and colors everywhere. There was a weapons room and even a bedroom covered in tapestries for the king with the bed Henri IV slept in when he visited. They even had pictures of the Marquis and his family. It felt much more like an extravagant home than the
colder and sparser château at Blois. The château even inspired Hergé, the author of the famous and beloved Tintin (a Franco-Belgian comic), to create Marlingspike Hall, the fictional castle in his comics. He based the castle on Cheverny.
After we toured the house, we walked around the gardens for a while. They have fountains and an orangery, and we spotted some horses. As we were walking, we saw the Marquis drive up in a Prius! He was greeted by some people in a golf cart nearby who took the car for him. How exciting! A minor celebrity sighting (albeit at his house).
After we walked around the gardens for a while, we went over to see the hounds. They have a kennel of around a hundred dogs who are taken hunting twice a week. You can even see them feed the dogs everyday at 5pm. It was quite a scene! There were dogs everywhere and tons and tons of meat and kibble set out for them, with fountains for drinking. It was a unique sight.
This was a wonderful visit. The château at Blois was more important historically and it was older (architecture and history buffs will probably like it more), but to me this château was more enjoyable to visit just because of its sheer elegance and beauty. On a nice day, I’m sure walking the grounds is lovely.