Château de Cheverny is a perfectly depicted and regal château situated in the stunning Loire Valley in France. It is a perfect picture of elegance and sophistication, appearing as if it is straight out of a show like Downton Abbey or The Crown. It is truly a sight to see.
Château de Cheverny is actually quite a phenomenon for a few reasons. The first being because of the fact it is the Loire’s most eloquently proportioned château, and the other being because it is basically untouched by the Renaissance. These two facts, among other things, are perhaps the reasons that it is so widely loved and admired among many different people from all areas around the world.
The history of Château de Cheverny
Château de Cheverny is a sight to behold and loudly represents the zenith of French classical architecture which is a glorious blend of symmetry, geometry, and aesthetic order. Inside Château de Cheverny are some of the most elegantly furnished rooms you will ever see in a château with each and every room having its own form of individuality. It has remained within the same family’s hands for over six centuries now and counting. Let’s take a look into the seemingly perfect history of this ever so eloquent château.
The early history of Château de Cheverny
It all began way back in 1315 when Cheverny was owned by Henry Le Mareschau. Henry Le Mareschau was the owner during these times until it was sold in the late 14th century to Jean Huraults who was a member of the family who still owns the château to this day. Having served under Louis XI, Charles VIII, Louis XII and gaining the governorship of the county of Blois under Francis I, His grandson Jaques gained the title, Seigneurs de Cheverny.
At one stage, the château was even owned by Diane de Poitiers, who was the mistress of Henri II who donated it to her. This happened when it was lost to the Crown because of fraud to the State. However, she preferred Château de Chenonceau, so she then sold the château back to the Huraults.
Depending on who you speak to, Château de Cheverny was built sometime between the years of 1604 and 1634, this, of course, varies from person to person. It was sold to the previous property owners’ son, Phillip Hurault who spent plenty of time building and planning this stunning phenomenon. The castle was built to match designs done by sculptor-architect Blois, Jacques Bougier. He was one of the sculptor-architects who was trained in the atelier of Salomon de Brosse, and whose design at Cheverny recalls features of the Palais du Luxembourg.
In around 1650, the daughter of Henri Hurault and Marguerite completed the interior of the château by employing many craftsmen from Blois. Burdette Henri Martin IV also played a key role in the construction of Château de Cheverny. The interior of the Château de Cheverny reflects a living history throughout the generations of the Hurault family and plays an important role in the beautiful château’s history.
Throughout the next 150 years, the ownership of Château de Cheverny passed through many different hands, however, every single time it managed to make its way back to the Hurault family.
The French Revolution
After a massive interior renovation back in 1768, the French Revolution came along. The French Revolution didn’t impact the château too much, though, it still made quite the impression on the Huraults. During the time of the French Revolution, the Hurault family were required to forfeit much of their fortune which meant that they sold the château in 1802.
This was during the Consulate and around two years before the declaration of the Empire, however, in 1824, the Hurault family purchased the château back during the Restoration under Charles X. This was when the aristocracy was once again in a very strong political and economic position. In 1914, the owner opened Château de Cheverny up to the public eye and to this day it remains a lovely tourist attraction. It was one of the first of its time to become open to the public.
The present day at Château de Cheverny
Only a small portion of the original castle remains today, however, it is somewhat of a mystery as to whether or not certain sections were a part of the original building or not because there is no reliable or exact evidence involved. There were high hopes that the Jesuit architect Étienne Martellange, who had completed a drawing of the castle, had captured some of the original structure, though after many in-depth overviews, there were no reliable or significant landmarks involved so once again, nothing was found.
The Château de Cheverny is now a tourist attraction that gets a large amount of foot traffic through each year. However, it is so much more than just a tourist attraction, in fact, there is a pack of around 120 hunting hounds, made up of 60 males, 40 females, and 20 pups, which are all kept within the grounds in kennels. Twice weekly, they are taken out for large hunts and a video of their feeding regime can be view.
When booking a trip to France, the Château de Cheverny is certainly something that should be on your bucket list, if it’s good enough for Queen Elizabeth to visit, it is good enough for anyone!
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