The Big Chill

Chenonceau has a grand history of its own.  It was built by Catherine de Briçonnet, wife one of a royal financial agent, but confiscated by king François I when irregularities were found in the bookkeeping.  Upon François's death in 1547, the castle fell to his son Henri II.  Henri immediately gave it to his mistress Diane de Poitiers -- reputedly the most beautiful woman in France and in all of Europe.  She makes the castle a center of royal feasts and dances and the envy of every princess of the world -- and every queen.  When Henri dies in the horrible accident of 1559, the time is right for Catherine de Médicis.  While Henri was alive she had to tolerate his attentions to the beautiful Diane.  When he died, she would avenge them.  Diane is exiled to the nearby "consolation castle" of Chaumont.  She will spend little time there and will end her life in solitude in the castle of Anet.  The portrait above is that of Catherine de Médicis.  You may notice "H" and the interlaced "C" at the bottom of the mantle -- Henri and Catherine.
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This page last updated on 6/23/2003 10:40:15 PM.