A short stroll from one of the region’s most impressive châteaus, this charming, rural village provides an idyllic base for exploration.
Admire grandiose architecture, exquisite artwork and lavish gardens in charming Chenonceaux. Wander through quiet streets of cafés and bakeries and visit the pretty chapel. Although it’s famous for the spectacular castle nearby, the town itself is an undiscovered delight complemented by its friendly, local atmosphere.
Notice the superb metal rhino at the antique dealership on Rue Bretonneau before you continue to the Church of Saint-John the Baptist farther west. This tiny chapel was modeled in the 12th-century Romanesque style although it was not actually built until the 1500s. The modest façade is extremely pretty while the interior features a semicircular apse that is illuminated by stained-glass windows.
Enjoy a fresh pastry from the local bakery or relax with a coffee before you wander across the rail line and through tranquil woodland to Château de Chenonceau, standing intriguingly over the River Cher. The main house is a fortress of white towers and sharp spires matched inside by elegant furnishings and a set of rare 16th-century Flanders tapestries. Enjoy spending some time in the intricate gardens before you come to the main gallery. Stretching across the river over a set of graceful arches, this is a breathtaking piece of architecture. Inside, the walls are covered with paintings from many of Europe’s greatest artists, including Rubens, Murillo and Poussin.
When evening arrives, make your way back to the village for a sumptuous dinner. The food is traditional French with fish and meat cooked to succulent perfection. Enjoy a drink and a chat with the locals in one of the friendly bars. Go back through the quiet streets to one of the guesthouses, most of which are a short walk from the town center.
Chenonceaux is in the department of Indre-et-Loire in central France. The village is served by trains, with Paris about 2 hours north.
Slip into the French countryside and admire one of the country’s most magnificent châteaus at Chenonceaux.