Located in Sologne Blois, Chateau de Cheverny is one of the most famous castles in the Loire Valley.
It belonged to Diane de Poitiers
Although the estate has remained in the same family for more than 6 centuries, it escaped the Hurault de Vibraye family twice: once in the 16th century, Diane de Poitiers acquired it to oversee her development work in Chaumont sur Loire. , after being ousted from Chenonceau by Catherine de Medici; a second time in the 18th century, when the heirs of the builder’s daughter lost interest in their inheritance. Cheverny then fell into several hands until Anne-Victor Hurault, Marquis de Vibraye, bought the castle from her ancestors in 1825. During the French Revolution, Cheverny belonged to Jean Nicolas Dufort de Cheverny, introducer of the Ambassadors. Cheverny was thus able to avoid the worst thanks to the diplomatic qualities of its owner.
An « enchanted palace »
The Château is now inhabited by the descendants of the Huraults, the Marquis and the Marquise de Vibraye, whose apartments are in the right wing. Cheverny is open every day of the year and has only closed its doors for a few hours, on 3 occasions: during the visit of the Queen Mother of England (1963), the day of the funeral of the Marquis de Vibraye (1976 ) and the current owner’s wedding day, November 26, 1994. Of the primitive fortress built in 1500, only a few vestiges remain, located in the current outbuildings. Between 1624 and 1640 Count Henri Hurault and his wife Marguerite Gaillard de la Morinière (hence the intertwined initials H and M that you will find during the visit) had a new castle built. But the work is of such magnitude that neither of them will see the « marvel born of love » completely over. Their daughter Elisabeth, Marquise de Montglas, completed the interior decoration. The result is splendid and allows the Grande Mademoiselle, daughter of Gaston d’Orléans, to describe Cheverny as an « enchanted palace ».
Inspired by the Luxembourg Palace in Paris
The architect Jacques Bougier (known as Boyer) who also worked in Blois and Chambord, used Bourré stone to build the castle. This soft stone comes from the Cher Valley. It is nevertheless much more solid than the tuffeau of the Loire Valley and has the properties of thinning and hardening with age. The sumptuous interior decoration is the work of Blésois Jean Mosnier. The latter had benefited, in his time, from the support of Queen Marie de Medici who sent him to perfect his talent in Italy. On her return, she employed him at the Luxembourg Palace in Paris. Then he returned to Blois, his native town. Crowned with a deserved success, he was called to Cheverny to exercise his talent there. The south facade of the castle is the most famous facade of Cheverny. It is decorated with busts of Roman emperors sculpted in the “antique” style, in vogue since the Renaissance. Inspired by the Luxembourg Palace in Paris, the general plan of Cheverny, with its large corner pavilions topped with domes and its stone decoration in superimposed lines (known as bosses) are novelties for the time. They will become characteristic of French classical architecture. Hergé, the famous cartoonist and screenwriter of Belgian comic strips « Tintin and Snowy » was inspired by Cheverny to create Moulinsart, the most famous castle in the history of comics. https://www.chateau-cheverny.fr/