The history of Chenonceau (see photo gallery) is fascinating. It began as a fortified mill in medieval times. At the beginning of the 16th century, a new architectural style was born with the construction of the chateau. It was built on the foundations of the old mill- a simple square building with four turrets, lancet windows and a high pitched roof. The turret of the mill was the only part left standing and can be seen on the model. The chateau became a financial burden and passed to the crown of France. In 1547, king Henri II presented the chatueau to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. She built beautiful gardens and had a bridge constructed to span the river Cher. But in 1559, Henri II was killed in a tournament and his wife, Catherine de Medicis forced Diane from the chateau to live the rest of her life in exile. It was here that Chenonceau took on its characteristic look. Catherine had the bridge across the river covered with a beautiful building. It featured semi-circular turrets and round dormer windows in the roof. When I first saw this structure, I thought that the building would be filled with interesting rooms. It's not. It is simply a long hall! There was a lot of history to follow at this lovely chateaux. Interesting to me was that in the first world war it was a hospital and in the second world war, the entrance was in occupied France, but the south side opened on to unoccupied France.