France, Loire
Comments 4

Chenonceau at Christmas

While my parents were in town, I wanted to take them to at least one château. I mean, when in Loire, right? Knowing their taste and love of flower arranging, I knew that Chenonceau was the right choice. I’m so glad, as it was stunningly decorated with some of the most creative floral displays I’ve ever seen.

chenonceau

Not a soul in sight!

trees at chenonceau

parents at chenonceau

They were totally charmed by Chenonceau.

Not only was it a gorgeous, mild (warm, even!) sunny December morning, but it was practically deserted at Chenonceau. It was a joy to be able to wander the grounds and the halls without masses of other tourists, like our visit in the summer.

the chateau from behind

The view from Catherine de Medici’s gardens.

front doors

My parents were delighted with our visit. They revelled in the history and were charmed by the beauty that surrounded them. The château was warmed by crackling fires in the massive fireplaces. We wandered throughout and thoroughly enjoyed the sense of having the château nearly to ourselves.

Chapel

Chenonceau Chapel. Sprigs of white orchids in individual water vials adorned the trees.

Front hall

Entry hall, simple but pretty.

The red room!

The kids’ tree – santas, snowmen, candy canes and reindeer.

The flowers did not disappoint! Every room was elegantly dressed with masses of flowers and greenery, as well as traditional Christmas decor. Themed but not cheesy, and lush without being overpowering. My favourite room, the grand ballroom, was simple and sophisticated in greenery with gold and white.

the grand ballroom

Simply dressed in a lush evergreen garland, with a 20 foot tree at the end of the ballroom.

tree in ballroom

Barely fits! The tree went right to the tippy top.

IMG_6415

I had the chance to speak with the head of the floral team in his atelier at the tail end of our visit. He leads a full-time year-round team of three other florists. The majority of the flowers are grown onsite in the orangerie. During the year, they change the flowers every week, which blows my mind when I think back to the incredible, massive arrangements we saw there in the summer.

flower atelier

The floral atelier.

ducks

A cute wood duck near the pond.

In the Christmas season, the same displays remain for a whole month, which is equally impressive considering the number of flowers and how fresh they all looked. It must be an amazing but challenging job to come up with the holiday displays. They were true works of art. I wish you could experience the scent emanating from the first servants’ dining room (white orchid room below). It was absolute heaven — holiday greenery at it’s best!

pine and orchids in the servants dining room

Evergreen and orchids, apples and real chocolate-dipped roses in the servants’ dining room.

green + white with hits of pink

Heavenly scented greenery.

red servants dining room

The other servants’ dining room, all in red.

reds closeup

Berries, apples, and poinsettias with glittering gold accents.

We were all incredibly impressed by the amaryllis displays. Like nothing we’ve ever seen! Amaryllis stems hanging upside down, the base of their stems hollowed and used as a vessel for orchids. Absolutely striking.

amaryllis and orchids

Creative display of orchids and amaryllis, with the Chenonceau logo beneath made of mums and roses.

Upside down amaryllis

White orchids in their “vases” — the base of the stems of upside-down amaryllis.

I loved getting to visit the kitchens when they were so quiet. The rooms were really busy in the summer, so I didn’t get any good photos of the kitchens. The whole downstairs of Chenonceau is food prep, kitchens, and servants’ dining. It reminds me a bit of what we see on Downton Abbey! 🙂

kitchen

copper pots

Gorgeous gleaming copper pots.

fire in the kitchen

Kitchen fireplace, and a winch by the window to bring up buckets of water from the river!

butchers table

The butcher’s table, with a selection of cleavers on the wall.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Gillian Bird says

    If money were no object, we would be over there in a heartbeat. So glad you are doing this blog. Love all your posts. I see a book. Xoxox

    Like

  2. Susan Bernard says

    We were at Chenonceau in 2014 and it was beautiful with such an interesting history! >

    Like

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