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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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! 🙂