Located on the north bank of the River Cher, Chenonceaux is surrounded by vineyards in the Touraine-Chenonceaux wine-growing area. It lies alongside the former royal residence of the Château de Chenonceau, otherwise known as the “Ladies Chateau” due to the females who influenced its design.
Things to do in ChenonceauxSpanning the River Cher is the Château de Chenonceau, which was constructed in the early 16th century on the foundations of an old mill. It is one of the most visited chateaus in France, with its magnificent bridge designed by the Renaissance architect Philibert de l’Orme. Stroll through the flower-filled gardens and explore the opulent interiors decorated with 16th-century tapestries and furnishings.
Just upstream is Le Moulin Fort, a 16th-century mill built by Adam de Houdin XVI. Surrounded by three islands, it is one of the Loire Valley’s most unique chateaus. You can rent a kayak beside the Pont de Chisseaux to admire the mill from the water or access it via the bridge that connects to the river’s northern bank.
Chenonceaux is a convenient base for exploring historic Amboise, which is home to the 15th-century residence of King Charles VIII. It’s famed for preserving the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci and offers majestic views across the Loire Valley from its balconies and terraced gardens. Combine your visit to Amboise with a stop at the former home of da Vinci, Château du Clos Lucé, which houses a museum showcasing his designs.