Le Château de Chenonceau, another fantastic one in the Loire Valley, 15th century. It’s almost the most visited castle in France, second only to Versailles, which is saying something. In fact the lack of tourists in these shots is a result of very careful and patient camera angling. It was bondé (packed).
This château is famous for having been inhabited and run mostly by women during the course of its existence. A king once offered it to his mistress as a gift, and immediately after his death the queen was all too happy to come in and kick her out, taking it for herself.
Centuries later the castle found itself in an interesting spot during WWII, as its corridor spanning across the river was connecting the safe French border to the then-occupied Nazi territory. Citizens would often attempt to sneak across to freedom, which put the castle in a precarious spot in the cross-hairs of German bomber planes. As Americans I like to think we get a bit of credit for helping to save these beautiful structures. Like my father-in-law joked the other day, “If it wasn’t for you Americans, we’d all be speaking German right now”.
And thank god, cause learning French is hard enough.