Château Cheverny

Posted on October 7, 2016 by

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The original Château Cheverny was, by fair means or foul, taken from the family by Henri II. He gave it to his mistress Diane de Poitiers who cynically sold it back to the family.

The Cheverny we see today, completed in 1640, was built by Henri Hurault, Comte de Cheverny. He was the son of Phillippe, Chancellor to Louis XIII and Henri IV. The Marquis de Vibraye, present owner and occupier of the chateau, is a direct descendant.

In keeping with tradition, Cheverny keeps kennels for a hundred hunting hounds. They keep the family, staff and the dogs themselves well provided with fresh supplies of deer or wild boar according to the season.

The family lost everything during the French Revolution but got Cheverny back in 1824 during the restoration of the monarchy under Charles X. This means that the chateau has been lived in by the same family for six centuries which is pretty impressive.

The dining room has thirty-four wooden panels painted by the Blois artist Jean Monier illustrating the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Cervantes was all the rage when Cheverny was built. Monier, who also decorated the very impressive Arms Room, surpassed himself with The King’s Room which is quite simply astonishing.

In 1922, having managed to survive the many vicissitudes of Life, Cheverny opened its doors to the public, the first chateau to do so.

To appreciate Cheverny’s amazing tapestries, family portraits by François Clouet and de la Tour and paintings from the studios of Titian and Raphael, purists like us need to draw a veil over the Lego constructions.

We have visited many châteaux, but this was the first time we have been welcomed at the front door. Cheverny’s real secret weapon is its front of house Maître d’ who, when not greeting visitors, doubles up as the Château Clock Winder. So charming, so intelligent, so knowledgeable, so cultured, so committed to the Château we took him to be the Marquis and who knows perhaps he was.