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(September, 2004)

Luis Benitez

Plaza Rufino Tamayo

Maryannik Barray

Chenonceau - When a Chateau is a Bridge

Chenonceau, Loire Valley, France

16:00 UTC, Saturday 18 September 2004

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© 2004 Maryannik Barray, All Rights Reserved.

This magnificent chateau has been heavily influenced by the fact that it has been under the control of some remarkable women - most notably, Catherine de' Medici.

It was rebuilt in Renaissance style between 1513 and 1521 by Catherine Briconnet and her husband who first acquired the medieval Chenonceau castle. Then, in 1547 Henri II gave it to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who added the formal gardens and the arched bridge over the river. After Henri's death, in 1559 his wife Catherine de' Medici reclaimed the castle and transformed the bridge into an Italian-style gallery.

Stretching across the river Cher, it now has two 60m (197 ft) galleries over the arches. The kitchens are in one of the supporting columns, with food arriving by boat.

At one point in the last century, part of the river Cher and as such the chateau was the dividing line between occupied and free France. Therefore, it was not uncommon for a person from the occupied zone to 'visit' the chateau, but 'accidentally' leave via the wrong door into free France.

Images taken while on holiday from Ireland in France.
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