Chenonceaux

Photo of Chenonceaux

About Chenonceaux

A charming and pretty village in the Loire Valley aglow in a peaceful ambience and full of hidden quirks, Chenonceaux is known primarily for its chateau - the second most visited castle in France after Versailles. For centuries, tourists have descended upon this petite village in order to marvel at its architectural wonder. Indeed the village stands in stark contrast with the Chateau de Chenonceau, for while being remarkably sweet it has none of the grandeur and awe-inspiring beauty of the chateau, which has had owners as mighty as the Medici and guests as influential as the Enlightenment thinkers of Revolutionary France. Without the chateau causing such a great shadow it would be like any other picturesque and idyllic Loire Valley village: traditional, quiet and lovely to lose yourself in. Our pick of the best places to stay in Chenonceaux will provide the perfect launch pad for your french adventure.

Roughly 35km from Tours, the village only has 400 inhabitants but like many other small French villages, it teems with local artisan shops. As you drive in you come face-to-face with a pottery shop; further on, a gift shop, Boulangerie and tourist office, and in the driveway of the antiques dealer is a Rhino - a work of marvellous modern sculpture. It also has a good selection of restaurants offering a taste of the Loire's cuisine and famous wines.

The simple beautiful charm of Chenonceaux is really symbolised by its church, L'Eglise-Saint-Jean-Baptise, a small and charming chapel that is simply adorned and has none of the trinkets and grandeur of the Gothic and Romanesque cathedrals that line the towns of the Loire.

What Not to miss

  • Chateau de Chenonceau: the pride and joy of France and the only castle in the world that is also a bridge. A 16th century Renaissance wonder, it stands shining white over the River Cher with 5 arches. It has beautiful gardens, Flemish tapestries, paintings by Tintoretto and Rubens, a wax museum and a restaurant. It is interesting to note that it omits the "x" from Chenonceau, allegedly because the owner during the time of the French Revolution wanted to express solidarity with the Jacobins: by doing so, it cuts the feudal ties between castle and village - becoming an individual home in its own right.
  • Wine: the Loire Valley is famous for its wines and particularly, the caves in which it is stored. In the Caves du Pere Auguste, in Civray-de-Touraine, you can taste samples of various vintages from the wine merchants, and in Troglo Degusto in Bourre as well.
  • The River Cher: there are many ways to explore this lovely river. You can take boat trips from Chisseaux, you can canoe from Civray-de-Touraine or join a segway tour along the tracks that follow it from Amboise.
  • Hot Air Balloon: you can see the castles of the Loire Valley from on high, by going on a hot air balloon from the village of Amboise. Not for the faint-hearted!

Chenonceaux is a charming and idyllic little village, in many ways a symbol of how outsiders view France: full of artisan shops, fine restaurants, castles and lush rolling vineyards. The best places to stay in Chenonceaux all make this dreamy-eyed vision of France come alive.

The best places to stay in Chenonceaux

On a budget

  • La Roseraie: a pretty ivy-clad hotel with 15 rooms and a restaurant. It is ideal for exploring the village and seeing the chateau, and has housed guests as famous as Winston Churchill and Rockefeller.

Country escape

  • Auberge du Bon Labourer: a charming 18th century country house with a mature garden and 24 rooms. It has a gourmet restaurant, a tennis court and is only 500 meters from the chateau.

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner Booking.com has a long list of villas and apartments in the village and nearby.

Travel information

  • The nearest airport is Val-de-Loire in Tours, roughly 27km away.
  • It is best to visit during the summer months, when the temperature varies from 12 to 26 degrees. But be warned this is peak season and the village will be packed!
  • If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Chenonceaux

  • La Roseraie 15 rooms from £62

    Chenonceaux

    An ivy clad French auberge that's housed everyone from Winston Churchill to Rockefeller. Spacious rooms are traditionally dressed with antiques, warm hues and softly patterned fabrics. A fine-dining restaurant serves up exemplary regional fare and there's a pool and picturesque garden too.

    Local exploring  -  Boasting a tranquil location with easy access to the region's attractions.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit Château de Chenonceau, a 16th century castle built over a river.
    Great walks  -  Take a scenic stroll along the Loire.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Check prices
  • Auberge du Bon Laboureur 24 rooms from £102

    Chenonceaux

    A pretty hotel set in an 18th country house. Charming rooms feature antique furniture and elegant textile prints. Outdoor pool, gardens and terrace. Excellent regional cuisine with ingredients straight from the vegetable garden. A pretty, quiet and sophisticated spot.

    Local exploring  -  Just 500m from Castle of Chenonceau, and the vineyards of the region, with cycling and walking paths
    Sights nearby  -  Amboise, Chaumont, Chambord
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Traditional
    Recommended by  -  Sawdays, Relais du Silence, Michelin Travel
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