History of the château
The domain of Cheverny belonged to the Hurault family for more than six centuries. Financiers and officers in the service of several kings of France, their château is one of the largest in the Loire Valley and is still inhabited by the descendants of the Huraults, the Marquis and Marchionesse of Vibraye.
Of the first château, built in the sixteenth century, only a few signs remain, visible in the common areas. In the middle of the sixteenth century the title became the property of Diane de Poitiers, mistress of King Henry II, who sold the château and grounds to the son of the previous owner and his wife.
Their son, Henri Hurault, and his wife Marguerite Gaillard of La Morinière, built the current château between 1624 and 1630. They entrusted the work to the architect Jacques Bougier, who also worked on the development of the new Château de Blois. He used stone from the village of Bourré in the Cher Valley. This stone has the particularity of blanching and hardening as it ages, which explains the whiteness of the facades of the château.
Élisabeth, Marquise de Montglas, daughter of Henri and Margérite completed the interior decoration around 1650 with the help of the painter Jean Mosnier. For the next 150 years, the Château de Cheverny changed hands several times. Finally, in 1825, Victor Hurault, Marquis of Vibraye, bought back the property of his ancestors.
The Château de Cheverny was opened to the public in 1922, on the initiative of Philippe de Vibraye, great-uncle of the current owner, Marquis Charles-Antoine de Vibraye. He first had to obtain the permission of his mother, who agreed on one condition, that Cheverny should stay closed on Tuesdays, being the day she had tea with her friends! Today the estate welcomes nearly 350,000 visitors every year.
THE MOST MAGNIFICENTLY FURNISHED CHATEAU OF THE LOIRE
The château, which has always been inhabited, is full of remarkably well-preserved pieces of furniture and interior fittings. The apartments on the first-floor bear witness to the old French way of life a birth room, a red boudoir, a nursery, the wedding suite, a private dining room and a small comfortable lounge.
Cheverny has many other treasures besides, such as the 17th century Gobelins tapestry, hung in the arms room, or the Louis XIV period dresser in the Boulle style and the Louis XV period "regulator" (a clock of great precision which served to regulate all the other clocks in the château), which can be admired in the tapestry room. Don't miss the splendid bed canopy decorated with Persian embroidery, which hung over Henry IV during his stay in the old château.
THE PARK AND GARDENS OF THE CHÂTEAU
Accessible to the public, an English style park and gardens covering almost 100 hectares surround the château. Planted between 1820 and 1860 by Paul de Vibraye, rare tree species including a number of magnificent specimens - lindens, redwoods and several varieties of cedar can be seen.
The Apprentice's Garden, created in 2006, can be found between the château and the Orangery, which served as a shelter for a collection of furniture of national importance during the Second World War. The contemporary design of the garden was inspired by the plans of an old French garden, which once grew on the same site.
Finally, the kitchen garden was designed and built in 2004, near the trophy hall and common areas. Designed by the Marquise de Vibraye, it combines the original use of different coloured materials, vegetables and flowers.
THE "ÉQUIPAGE DE CHEVERNY" HUNT
Cheverny is known as the national centre for hunting with hounds.
the Equipage de Cheverny was founded in 1850 by the Marquis de Vibraye. Today only deer are hunted in the forest of Cheverny.
In the outbuildings of the château, a kennel shelters nearly a hundred beagles of the Anglo-French tricolour breed. Feeding time is a spectacular event, open to the public.
THE TINTIN EXHIBITION
Cheverny was the inspiration for Marlinspike in Hergé's Adventures of Tintin. It made its first appearance in 1942, in the Secret of the Unicorn, and later became the base of Tintin, Snowy, Professor Calculus, the butler Nestor and of course its owner, Captain Haddock.
The Estate of Cheverny and the Hergé Foundation have teamed up to create and run a permanent exhibition The Secrets of Marlinspike ("Moulinsart" in French). You can visit Tintin's room, Professor Calculus's laboratory, and the cellar of Marlinspike Hall.
The exhibition has been open to the public since 2001 and has already welcomed more than 650,000 visitors.