Chateau de Chenonceau
Henry II's mistress, Diane of Poitiers, falls in love with Chenonceau. Diane is the widow of the Count of Brézé, the Grand Seneschal of France and is twenty years Henry's senior. Henry gives Diane the castle as a sign of his love. She officially takes ownership in 1555.
While at Chenonceau, Diane is made the Duchess of Valentinois and becomes one of the most influential women in France. Her success assured her of many enemies, the most formidable of which was the Queen, Catherine de Medici, who envied her influence over the young King and the affairs of the France.
Henry II and his court visit Diane at Chenonceau. The castle is a fully functioning estate at this point with Diane of Poitiers as it's ruler.
Numerous artists took up residence at Chenonceau during this period. The parties and events (balls, tilting at the ring, stag hunting) were never-ending and legend.
As legal owner Diane embarks on an expansion of Chenonceau. The castle is enlarged to span the river Cher.
King Henri II is fatally injured by Montgomery, the Captain of the Scottish guards, during a sporting event.
His widow, the long simmering, Catherine de Medici, demands that Chenonceau be returned to the crown. Diane is banished to Chaumont.
Chenonceau remains a vibrant estate under Catherine de Medici's rule.
The gardens are transformed and redesigned under the guidance of Bernard Palissy.
The grand courtyard is built.
In May, the grand gallery of the castle is inaugurated. The reception with its songs, dances, and theater remains the climax of the golden era of Chenonceau.
Claude Dupin, a squire descended from the Berry family, buys the castle of Chenonceau from the Duke of Bourbon.
Among the visitors to the chateau during this period are Voltaire, Fontenelle, Marivaux, Montesquieu, Buffon and Rousseau.
The Dupin's are much loved by the peasants of the region.