Tour of 3 Castle Properties – Chateau De Chenonceau

Today I toured with a company through Expedia known as à la française. Camille was phenomenal as a guide and this was such a unique experience. What made it even more wonderful was we were all English speaking so much was learned and we got along – an added bonus. No tr folk. Yeah!

Here’s Camille’s info if interested in an amazing trip. She has recently begun her business and is looking into a Christmas tour of the castles – oh la la! What a dream trip.

Chateau De Chenonceau

This Castle is owned privately by the Mentier Chocolate Company of France, (a subsidiary of Nestle). They purchased the Castle in 1912, and began renovations at that time. There are 103 castles which are open to the public in France.

Castles can be open to the public or owned by families. They can be devoted to touring or become a hotel establishment if the owner wishes tax breaks. While the government can offer to help financially, the paperwork is challenging and difficult.

At Chenonceau there are floral gardens – the Queen’s, and the King’s mistress, wine tasting, and vegetable gardens, and an array to beauty to take in.

Let’s start taking in that beauty.

Welcome to Chenonceau

The Home of King Henry II’s Mistress and Her Gardens

Catherine de Medici Gardens – She was King Henry II’s wife, and her gardens were a bit sparser. While the King respected Catherine, his favorite was his mistress, Diane de Poitiers.

More outside views of the castle

Originally there was vast acreage associated with the Castle and much hunting occurred on the property.

The Dungeon – this was the original structure on the property. There was also a mill on the property, however, once construction began the mill was destroyed but the Dungeon remained. Only nobles in Medieval times were allowed dungeons.

This Castle is considered a ladies castle as so many royal woman inhabited it. Catherine was known to give extensive parties here as she felt if people partied they were happy and not likely to engage in war. Interesting idea. During World War I and II the Castle was used as a hospital with the owner paying to establish this.

Hallway where recovering prisoners were housed. They were said to fish out the windows of this hallway for recreation.

A tribute to those who were cared for at this site.

In the out buildings of the Castle there is an exhibit showing how the hospital was arranged and developed.

More Out Buildings on the Property

A Display of Carriages of the Time

A Wine Tasting Room

And inside the Castle..

The Sun King’s Bedroom

Catherine’s Bedroom

The Chapel

The Kitchen – was the most extensive I have ever seen.

Wouldn’t want to be the gal assigned to scrubbing those copper pots. Would you??

Some Beautiful Tapestries

King Henry II died at a young age in a war related event. After that Catherine de Medici threw Diane out sending her to another castle to live and she took residence at Chenonceau.

Oh, the stories of the Renaissance!

Chateau D’Azay-Le-Rideau

Came across this Chateau quite by accident as I had read on the internet it was closed. You never know what you’ll find when you travel, and D’Azay-Le-Rideau was a find. This 16th century jewel combines French, Italian, and Flemish influences and resides on an island. With its Grand Staircase it is considered a Loire Valley architectural masterpiece.

More Grounds and then we’ll enter the Castle..

The grounds were the most peaceful of all the castles I visited.

This Castle has been owned by the French government since 1905 and has ongoing renovations. An interesting picture of the beam structure appears below. When visiting see the video on the renovation – fascinating.

There are many unique and beautiful tapestries at the castle. Tapestry design falls into 3 categories – religious, mythical, and those with a military/war type design. Tapestries act as an insulator removing the cold from the castle., When royalty moved from castle to castle they brought their tapestries, dishes, and furniture with them to their next abode.

D’Azay was built to be a museum, however, fortunes were lost and art work sold to cover debt. There are some remaining art works, and of course the 15th century tapestries still present from the collection are on view.

Quite a unique fireplace. The salmander signifies French royalty.

The Kitchen and Dining Room

The Billiard Room – During the 19th century this room was used for relaxing with friends.

The Salon/Library

More Tapestries..

While the Castle reigns from the 16th century when the government acquired it in 1905 it was essentially bare. It has been restored to the 19th century in some rooms as shown, and other rooms remain sparsely furnished as the castle was in the 16th century. Most of the castle furnishings were acquired through museum donations.

The Castle lies in a beautiful medieval town. There is also a travel park adjacent to the property. In much of France people tour with trailers. This is another option for those wishing to tour France and other EU countries.


Here is the first castle visited in the Young Retiree Needs A Life series. Villandry has been inhabited since the 16th century Renaissance period. Once known as a fortress, today it is a masterpiece of 9 acres of gardens, ponds, and terraces. In 1906, it was acquired by a Spanish medical researcher and his wife who restored the castle and gardens.

But enough of history, pictures say it all..

The Gardens

And a Castle tour is also available.

One thing that amazed me throughout the castle tours were the condition of the tapestries with some from as early as the 15th century.

In each room were exquisite flower arrangements from the gardens. The couple lived here as they renovated and his wife was an American.

No words can describe the beauty of this arrangement.

The Dining Room

Even flowers in the kitchen ..

The Formal Parlor

The town of Villandry is adjacent to the castle and is a delightful Medieval town. Take time to meander their streets post tour.

Moulin Rouge

Took this picture in the afternoon after visiting Montmatre, Moulin Rouge is just down the hill from Sacre Coeur.

Attended the evening performance ordering a ticket early for only $100. No photos are allowed during the beyond amazing performance so the following pics are from posters in the Moulin Rouge lobby.


How it all began..

The Dining Room and Stage – what a great seat I acquired.. Dinner is available at an additional cost, and with every ticket a bottle of champagne received..

And the performers…

If you are uncomfortable about female breasts – best not attend.

When and if you visit Paris – make sure to catch the show.

It is a must see!

Montmartre Beyond..

Find this area around Sacre Coeur Cathedral as it is a hot bed of interest. There is much to see and do with a history of many creatives who resided, drank coffee and beyond.

Let’s take a look..

Find the only vineyard in Paris.

And across the street from the vineyard a famous cabaret – make your reservations early…

Then up the hill is a wealth of shops and restaurants. Try the hot mulled wine.. yum..

And enjoy the street singers.

Didn’t stay here long as the crowds were enormous – protect your wallet and purse. There also is a little train for transport.

If in a religious state of mind – don’t forget to stop by Sacre Coeur for a prayer. Since my visit was on a Sunday morning the churches were open only for mass, not tourism.

And last but not least the John Wick staircase..

Next at the bottom of the hill – Moulin Rouge..

Stay tuned.

Auburn Memorial Park

Am taking a break from Paris to honor our military. Thank you.

I pass this tribute on my walk to the library. Decided for Memorial Day it was time to stop and pay reverence with a prayer of thanks. The City of Auburn has done a handsome Park to honor their local brave heroes who gave everything.

World War II

World War I Memorial

Korean War

There are also small memorials to each war or conflict the United States has been involved in. Too many..

Let’s hope this spot remains vacant forever.

A Peek at the 18th Arrondissement Montmatre

As the Cemetery opened at 9 a.m. decided to explore the area around the cemetery prior to visit. It is quite a normal city area with shops, workers, and the usual city sounds. Let’s take a look in pictures.

A fancy ice cream shop. During my visit Paris was ablaze with beautiful flowers and the scents – shall we say magnifique!

View of the Church of Sacre Coeur from a city street. For those John Wick enthusiasts this is where John Wick took his final stand.

A children’s playground in a garden

A Garbage Truck.

And toilettes (bathrooms) are discretely placed in most of the parks and streets throughout the City. Bring change for entry.

Monmartre Cemetery

Visited this cemetery in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris. The Cemetery dates to the early 19th century according to Auntie Google, however, in reviewing the stones believe it to be earlier than that. Over 20,000 are interred here with many notables of French politics, society, and the arts. If a cemetery aficionado this cemetery should be on your radar for a visit. It is a must see. However, be aware that though there is a map it is difficult to locate the cemetery mausoleums and no signage is available to find the notables grave sites. And word to the wise – do not inquire of cemetery staff.

All that said let’s take a look.

The Cemetery entrance with maps. A major street lies on top of the cemetery.

View from the Bridge on top of the cemetery.

The Mausoleums

Never saw a mausoleum decorated with flowers like this. Several mausoleums were decorated like this in the cemetery.

And this mausoleum is the neighbor to the mausoleum I sought out.. Drum roll please…

The Degas Mausoleum

Note: Someone had left their ballet clippers at the mausoleum.

And a close up..

Intriguing to be in the presence of the spirit of greatness.

Jardins of Tuileries

Over the bridge from the Musee is the Jardins of Tuileries. This is a famous spot for Parisians to gather and chat. It is a very busy spot located between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde making it a strategic location available for all to visit.

Some of the gardens..

Never saw so much open kissing by couples as in Paris. Love must be in the air here.

Flowers waiting for planting.

Fountains under construction..

Muslim women chatting.. There is much cultural diversity in Paris, similar to New York City.

More fountains, statutes, and gardens..

The French do know how to relax..