Château de Chenonceau
West view of Château de Chenonceau from Catherine de Medici Gardens.
Chenonceau, Loire Valley, France.
4 May 2006.
The current chateau was constructed by Thomas Bohier during 1515-21, on the site of a 15th century fortified mill and castle. The castle was later seized by King François I (for unpaid debts) and his son Henry II gave it to his mistress Diane de Poitiers. She added the arched bridge over the Cher River and ordered extensive gardens planted. When Henry died, his widow Catherine de Medici forced de Poitiers to give her Chenonceau in exchange for Chateau de Chaumont. de Medici added additional gardens and the gallery wing on the bridge across the Cher in 1577. Over the next few hundred years, the chateau passed hands many times and was saved from destruction during the Revolution by the persuasive Madame Louise Dupin, wife of owner Claude Dupin. The gallery of the chateau was used as a hospital during World War I, and was a means of escaping Nazi-occupied France during WWII. In 1951, the Menier family commenced a massive restoration of the chateau to its former glory.
Source: www.chenonceau.com and Wikipedia