Guide to Visiting Chenonceau Castle in France

Welcome to your “Guide to Visiting Chenonceau Castle in France!”  This is my favorite castle in the Loire Valley…but what makes it stand out from hundreds of chateaux?  Personally, I found that it had the most charm: between its gardens, the way it sits directly over the river, its storybook turrets, & signature long galley ballroom ~  I loved all of it.  And many of the chateaux in the Loire aren’t furnished anymore, which leaves something lacking.  But every room we toured in Chenonceau is filled with sumptuous period pieces & portraits, making for a richer experience. 

If you’re going to spend more time at any castle in the Loire Valley: make it Chenonceau!

Guide to Chenonceau Castle in France, Girl Who Travels the World

The gardens of Chenonceau were one of my favorite parts of the castle…

Did You Know? You can actually STAY in a castle hotel, right by Chenonceau. There are at least five castle hotels in the area ~ read about them here.

Map of Chenonceau Castle

Chateau Chenonceau

Chateau du Pray (Castle Hotel)

Chateau de la Bourdaisiere (Castle Hotel with Huge Garden)

Chenonceau Quick Facts

  • Address for Chenonceau Castle: 37150 Chenonceaux, France. The closest major city is Amboise. 
  • Opening Hours for Chenonceau: 9AM-7PM (between April-September), 7 days per week.  Hours during the winter are slightly shorter, typically closing around 5PM.
  • Adult Ticket Price for Chenonceau: 14.50 Euro (children under 7 are free)
  • Adult Ticket Price with Audio Guide: 18.50 Euro 
  • Parking Lot at Chenonceau: The parking lots are large, & about 1/4 mile walk to the chateau & ticket office.  You don’t have to pay for parking here. 
  • Is Chenonceau Castle Pet-Friendly: YES!!  Dogs are allowed, on leash, anywhere on the estate grounds.  Small dogs can be carried in a satchel inside the castle, & service dogs are allowed everywhere. 
  • Are There Restaurants at Chenonceau?  YES!! This is one of the main reasons I suggest making a day of it. For fine dining, there is The Orangerie, located inside the Green Garden. For a self-serve lunch of salads & sandwiches, head to the Creperie by the main entrance gate, or simply enjoy your own packed lunch at one of the many picnic areas on the grounds.
  • Is There Wine Tasting at Chenonceau? Again, YES!! Head down into the “Caves des Domes” for an afternoon of wine tasting in the chateau’s historic wine cellar.
  • Do You Need a Rental Car in the Loire Valley? I think, yes. It makes it so much easier to tour the various chateaux at your own pace ~ & I found driving in the Loire very easy, on pleasant country roads with very little traffic. Get the best rate for your European adventure by checking rates with Discover Cars.

 

 

 

 

Guide to Visiting Chenonceau Castle in France

Located directly over the River Cher, with its iconic & easily recognizable arches, Chenonceau Castle is straight out Cinderella.  You’ll walk from the large parking lots through a tree-lined avenue, only to be greeted by multiple gardens & a tall fortress set imposingly at the castle’s entrance.  

Guide to Chenonceau Castle in France, Girl Who Travels the World

One of the first things you’ll see when walking up to the castle is this turret, that stands apart from the castle itself.

When inside Chenonceau, grab an audio guide if you’re interested in learning more about the chateau’s history.  And Chenonceau does have a fascinating history, involving some of the most prominent women of the day.  These women: including Catherine de Medici (widow of Henry II), Diane de Poitier (his mistress), & Louise Dupin (“Lady of the Enlightenment”), all had a deep influence on how the chateau was shaped & built.  Their strong influence can still be seen & felt today, as you walk the grounds…which definitely have that *feminine* touch.

Guide to Visiting Chenonceau Castle in France, Girl Who Travels the World

The striking entry hall.

Guide to Visiting Chateau Chenonceau, Best Chateaux in the Loire Valley & Where to Stay, Girl Who Travels the World

Looking towards the castle from the gardens, over the River Cher.

Inside Chenonceau Castle…

Now let’s take a look inside the castle itself.  Strolling the entire grounds with an audio guide will take you anywhere between 30-90 minutes ~ depending how crowded it is, & how much of the audio clips you listen to.

Guide to Visiting Chenonceau Castle in France, Girl Who Travels the World

This small chapel is found right at the Chateau’s entrance.

Guide to Visiting Chenonceau Castle in France, Girl Who Travels the World

Chenonceau’s kitchens are massive & lie below ground. They were one of my favorite parts of the castle’s interior.

Guide to Visiting Chenonceau Castle in France, Girl Who Travels the World

This long hallway literally spans across the river. You can just imagine the balls & parties that were hosted here…

Gardens of Chateau Chenonceau

Because they’re so beautiful & extensive, I’d allow the most time for Chenonceau’s gardens: admiring the myriad views you get of the castle framed by greenery, fountains, & the river.  There are several picnic areas sprinkled throughout the gardens, making this a perfect place for an afternoon lunch al fresco…

Guide to Visiting Chenonceau Castle in France, Girl Who Travels the World

I found both sides of the gardens captivating: the left is a little more wild ~ while the right side (shown here) is a bit more manicured.

Guide to Visiting Chenonceau Castle in France, Girl Who Travels the World

The left side showcases a more “Cottage Garden” feel…

Guide to Visiting Chenonceau Castle in France, Girl Who Travels the World

Stunning.

Where to Stay by Chenonceau

Amboise is the closest major town to Chenonceau, & you have two fabulous, chateau-style accommodations nearby: 1) Chateau de Pray ($95+/night), & 2) Chateau de la Bourdaisiere ($135+/night).  Both are set on large grounds, with Chateau de Pray being the smaller, perhaps more charming of the two.  Chateau de la Bourdaisiere is set on 55 acres, in a restored Renaissance-era castle, with extensive gardens.

Best Chateaux in the Loire Valley, Girl Who Travels the World, Chateau de la Bourdaisiere

Set on 55 acres, just 5km from the Loire River, is Renaissance-restored Chateau de la Bourdaisiere, famous for its National Conservatory of Tomatoes.

Guide to Visiting Chenonceau Castle in France

I hope this guide is thorough enough to plan your Loire Valley adventures!  For great chateaux pairings, read the article below ~ it will let you know which chateaux are grouped together & can easily be visited in the same day…

xoxo Noelia

Read Next: How to Plan a Trip to the Loire Valley

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