The Good Life France Magazine




The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...


Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

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8 months ago

Issue No. 16

Bringing you the best of France including captivating towns like sunny Montpellier, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the antiques capital of Provence, Gascony, Chateaux of the Loire Valley, Paris, Lyon, a long lost cheese story, mouth-watering recipes and a whole lot more.

Photo: IheartFrance

Photo: IheartFrance Discover the history and beauty of the “chateau des dames” and go backstage with the gardener and florist who bring the castle to life with flowers... Everyone who visits the Chateau de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley comes away with a memory of the exquisite gardens, the impossibly romantic white stone castle over a river with its pointy towers and arched bridge - and especially of the flower displays in every room… Jean-François Bouchet is the florist extraordinaire who creates and directs the floral displays at the castle and for some, he is the main reason to visit the chateau. When I visited and had a lesson on flower displays with him (I know, I know – how lucky am I?) we went around the chateau afterwards to see how it looks when it’s done by a master. Groups of ladies gathered round him cooing and praising and I’m not surprised, he’s thoroughly charming and anyone who can make flowers look like he does, deserves such devotion. A bit about the Chateau de Chenonceau Francis I, the renaissance King of France, took ownership of the Chateau of Chenonceau in the 16th century. Later it was run by Diane de Poitiers who received it as a gift from her lover Henry II, the son of Francis I. She commissioned the famous bridge over the river Cher so that she could cross to the other side to hunt.

Photo: Brad Mushrush It’s said that she would sneak through the basement kitchens each morning to bathe in the icy waters of the river to keep her complexion bright. When her lover died, Diane lost the chateau to his wife Catherine de Medici, and was sent to live in neighbouring chateau Chaumont-sur-Loire. Catherine built the enclosed gallery on the bridge that makes it look so unique and she also developed the gardens. Chenonceau later passed into private ownership and is today owned by the famous French chocolate making family Menier. Madame Menier adores the flower displays and often has a hand in choosing the colours and blooms. Both ladies adored the chateau and were famed for their lavish parties in the castle’s beautiful grounds. In fact, the feminine touch that’s seen the chateau owned and developed by a succession of lady owners, is how it got its nickname ‘Chateau des Dames’ or ‘The Ladies’ Castle’.