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A Journey to France's Past: Chateau Chenonceau

Don a medieval outfit, hop on your horse-drawn carriage, and you’re off to Château Chenonceau in the Loire Valley in France for a journey back in time. A living edifice of Gothic and early Renaissance architecture, the chateau allows tourists to relive an exciting chapter in France’s history. Enter, and rediscover a forgotten era on your France holiday.

The Guard’s Room is our first stop. As its name indicates, this is where the castle guards would retire after their duties. It features a 16th century chimney and oak door, both decorated by Thomas Bohier, the castle’s builder. Walls are adorned with Flemish tapestries depicting scenes from castle life -- a marriage proposal and a hunt.

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One of the doors in the Guard’s Room is crowned by a statue of the Virgin Mary, and leads into the chateau chapel where you’ll see Mino da Fasiole’s sculpture of the Virgin and Child. The walls are filled with paintings of sacred subjects: “The Virgin in a blue veil” by Il Sassoferrato, “Jesus preaching before Ferdinand and Isabella” by Alonso Cano, “St. Anthony of Padua” by Murillo, and “The Assumption” by Jouevenet.

Don’t miss Diane de Poitiers’ boudoir. Madame de Poitier was Henry II’s mistress, and her room was adorned as such: a fireplace by Jean Goujon, a 17th century four-poster bed, Henry II armchairs, and a portrait of Catherine de’ Medici by Sauvage. Other chateau must-sees are the Green Study, Francois I’s bedroom, and the Louis XIV living room.

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