How do you decide which château to visit in a valley, known as ‘the valley of the thousand châteaux”? You could go for architecture, historical importance and influence or Instagram credibility and links to popular culture. My visit to Château de Cheverny was based on a leaflet I saw in my hotel room.
I was attracted to the château’s symmetrical architecture and the white stone which was used to build it. Compared to many of the other châteaux in the Loire Valley, Cheverny is noticeably smaller but very distinct in its appearance. It is also beautifully preserved and well maintained.
It’s the sort of château you buy when you win the lottery: big enough to impress and convey your newly-acquired status, yet intimate and suitable as one of your permanent residencies. Let me show you around.
Must-see places in Château de Cheverny
It took me about half an hour to explore the interior and a further hour and a half to explore the grounds of Château de Cheverny during my visit in May (2017). Here are the must-sees:
As soon as you enter the château and present your ticket, you turn right to begin your tour.
Fun fact: Château de Cheverny was one of the first stately homes to open to the public in 1922.
The Dining Room
It is an impressive dining room as you would expect it to be. What sets it apart from dining rooms in other châteaux are the 34 painted wooden panels. They illustrate Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote which was the talk of town back in the 17th century.
The Private Apartments
The private apartments are my favourite part of any château, castle and palace alike. An interesting fact about the private apartments in Cheverny is that the furniture there incorporates designs, celebrating the Egyptian campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Arms Room
A château without an arms room is like a manor house without a stone wall. Back in the 17th century, there was a trend of transforming the largest room into an arms room. That, apparently, indicated a good taste in romanticism and chivalry. The arms room in Cheverny is full of artefacts and well-worth your visit.
The King’s Bedchamber
It’s certainly “fit for a King” (no pun intended). The room itself is heavily decorated with tapestry hanging on the walls and painted panels on the ceiling. The bed is a canopied four-poster bed covered in Persian embroidery. There are also various armchairs around the bed.
If you go to the top floor, you will see the Chapel at Château de Cheverny. This is an intimate room which is well-preserved.
As you explore the interior of Château de Cheverny, you will go through The Vestibule, The Grand Salon, The Gallery, The Portrait Room, The Library and The Tapestry room. All worth exploring and photographing.
Apart from its exquisite furnishings, the château is filled with fresh and full-of-fragrance flower arrangements. I don’t encourage you to touch them but I certainly went close enough to be able to smell them.
Grounds/exterior of Château de Cheverny
If your visit to Château de Cheverny is in the summer, you will certainly notice the difference in temperature as soon as you step out onto the staircase which leads to the Apprentice’s Garden. I suggest you head to The Orangery first, where you can have a refreshing drink or a bite to eat if you are hungry.
A word of advice: the cheesecake is delicious but its base is made out of a solid biscuit. It’s rock-hard and quite difficult to cut through with the spoon. I had a splash of raspberry coulis on my slice which I ended up wearing.
As you explore the grounds, you will come across The Kennels and The Trophy Room. Both worth a stop but I spent more time in The Kitchen Garden. If you are a garden-lover and interested in plants, this is the place where you will find them in abundance.
Travel tips for visiting Château de Cheverny in the Loire Valley in France
I explored Château de Cheverny on my own and here is the information you need to prepare for your visit:
Avenue du Château
41700 CHEVERNY – FRANCE
Tel: +33 (0)2 54 79 96 29
Peak season – 01/04 – 31/10
9:15am – 6:30pm
Off season – 01/11 – 30/03
10:00am – 5:00pm
Full rate -11€
Reduced rate – 8€
*Car park – FREE
Tours and guides
A guided tour for individuals starts at 9:30am
Guided tour cost – 4€
*That cost is on top of the entrance fee