"Chenonceau: With an ‘X’ and Without One." Top 5 Page for this destination Chenonceau by von.otter
Chenonceau Travel Guide: 154 reviews and 442 photos
“Chenonceaux is noted chiefly for its chateau, but the little village itself is charming. The houses of the village are not very new, nor very old, but the one long street is most attractive throughout its length.”
— from “Castles and Chateaux of Old Touraine” 1906 By Francis Miltoun
The charming little village of Chenonceaux is situated in the Indre-et-Loire department of the Centre region of France. Laying 16 miles east of Tours, the River Cher, a branch of the River Loire, runs through the town.
This small agricultural community sees its permanent population of 300, as of 2004, swell in the mild-weather months of the year with an influx of tourists, who come to visit the village’s major attraction, Château de Chenonceau. This exquisite jewel-box of a castle is one of the most popular destinations in France.
The story of the different spellings between the château’s name, Chenonceau, and that of the village, Chenonceaux, is said to come from its 18th century owner, Louise Dupin. During the French Revolution, Madame Dupin dropped the ‘x’ at the end of the château’s name to distinguish a symbol of royalty, the château, from a symbol of the Republic, the village. The change has remained for more than 200 years.
The good people of the village were very protective of Madame Dupin, who had brought life back to the château in the 18th century by holding glittering salons, where she entertained leading Enlightenment figures including the writer, essayist, and philosopher Voltaire; the author Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle; the novelist and dramatist Pierre Carlet de Chamblain de Marivaux; the social and political commentator Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de la Brède et de Montesquieu; the scientist and author Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon; and the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
When members of the Revolution came to Chenonceaux, bent on their usual path of destroying life and property, villagers rose up to protect Madame Dupin and her castle.
The town is endearing, peaceful and quiet. We took a short walk through the village, where we found its sweet little church and la petite mairie (see photo #2) facing the same square, not far from the entrance to the château. The town is neatly organized along a main street, rue du Dr Bretonneau. Fine restaurants and hotels can be found here, for a lunch or dinner or an over-night stay.
- Pros:The château, outside and in, is breathtakingly beautiful.
- Cons:There are too many tourists cramping the château’s interiors.
- In a nutshell:Chenonceaux: come for the château, enjoy the village, too.
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