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As I walked the long tree-lined corridor up to the gorgeous Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley, I realized that I was walking back into history and into a story, where two of the most fascinating women of the French court once took centre stage — one a wife, the other a mistress, and not in that order.


The walk up to the castle


The facade of Château de Chenonceau

Diane de Poitiers – The Lover

The castle was built in early 1500’s. And it was Henri II who gave it as a gift to his lover — Diane de Poitiers,  who, as a result, became one of the most powerful women in all of France.

Henri became smitten with the noblewoman who was twenty years his senior (go Henri!) because of her fine mind but also for her unparalleled beauty. Diane was tall with a high forehead. She had strawberry blond hair, and very very white skin, all attributes highly coveted in the day.


Diane de Poitiers


In fact, I learned that when Diane de Poitiers died, an autopsy revealed that she had unnaturally high levels of both gold and mercury in her system. It suggested that she had injected these compounds in order to become anemic, and subsequently display a strong pallor.  (Surprisingly, she still lived to be 66.)


Diane de Poitier’s bed chamber


Catherine De Medici – The Wife

In 1533, Henri II married the Italian aristocrat Catherine de Medici. Understandably, Catherine became jealous of Diane de Poitiers who continued to hold the king’s affections — until, that is, some years later when the king was mortally wounded in a jousting match.


Catherine de Medici


Catherine de Medici’s bedroom


Sitting area to the left of Catherine’s bedroom. You can’t imagine how beautiful these rooms are!

Henri II Dies

On his death bed, the king apparently cried out for his mistress, but Catherine forbade the visit and also banned Diane de Poitiers from the funeral.

With the king’s demise, Queen Catherine embraced her authority to boot Diane de Poitiers out of the castle and take possession herself.


The bridge across the River Cher to the château


Despite being at odds with one another, the two women both wielded a strong esthetic influence on the design and expansion of the château and its gardens along the River Cher, and subsequently the Château de Chenonceau is considered one of the most beautiful estates and the most visited château in France.

I myself fell in love with it.


I took this picture from inside the Château looking back at the extensive gardens which are much bigger than they appear.

Visiting Château de Chenonceau

If you want to go while visiting Paris — what I did and I highly recommend it,  take the One Day Loire Château Tour offered by

Painting of the château in the hall of the château!

Related Books:

The King’s Mistress; Diane de Poitiers

The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

The Devil’s Queen, A Novel by Catherine de Medici 

And Now — Who is The Winner of The Surprise French Box?

Giveaway Draw Winner!

I am excited to announce that Carol Cavell, from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA  has won the draw for the Surprise  French Box, which contains 12 Paris-themed items.

Congrats Carol,  I hope you enjoy the gifts and I am thrilled to have you as a reader and follower of my blog.

Two Bonus Draws!

And because I cannot resist adding a couple of Bonus Gifts. I did two Bonus Draws for smaller items and the winners of these are the following;

Susan Mallinos of Ajax, Ontario, Canada  


Christine Peisley, Isaacs, ACT, Australia 


I want to thank all of you who participated from around the world!   I have listed your names on a recent Facebook post.

I promise I will reveal everything that is in the box and the other gifts once they have been delivered! 


Catch up on any blogs you might have missed at at


Once the winner has been selected and received the French box in the mail, they will be asked for a Short Interview, and to take a Selfie or Photo with their new gifts. 

The content will be used to promote interest in my blog and may be posted on FB, Instagram and Twitter. I personally purchase my Giveaway products and do not derive any commission from them.

Disclosure Policy: This site uses affiliate links which may generate small commissions based on clicks and purchases. Any products that I giveaway are personally purchased by me unless otherwise specified. I also write all content on my site unless otherwise specified. And I respect the privacy of my subscribers and do not share their information with any other party or organization.


  1. Carol Vandergriff on October 20, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Hi Diana,

    Thank you so much for sharing you experiences in Paris and the surrounding areas. The history is enlightening and the pictures are beautiful.

    I always look forward to receiving your stories on Sunday morning. Thank you for sharing.

    Carol Vandergriff

    • Diana Bishop on October 20, 2019 at 8:15 pm

      I was a little late getting my blog out this morning. I apologize to one and all. But thank you Carol,
      I am so glad you are enjoying the stories. Diana

  2. Luci Rizzo on October 20, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    Congrats to all 3 of the winners. I can hardly wait to see what’s in the package!!

    Loved the story of the Live triangle. Pretty steamy stuff.

    • Diana Bishop on October 20, 2019 at 8:13 pm

      The box is on its way! We will know soon. Great to hear from you Luci.

  3. Tamara Thompson on October 21, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    Ok, before this post I did not want to travel anywhere, as I’m a bit of a scardy cat. NOW after reading this blog post about this fiery romance, I want to Travel to Paris and visit this beautiful emotion-evoking destination. Now, I am ready to pack my bags! I have got to see this beautiful landscape! Thanks, Diana for such breathtaking photos and insight!!!

  4. Susan Rust on October 27, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Hi Diana
    Château de Chenonceau sounds amazing! It will definitely be on my agenda when I return to Paris again! Thanks for a great idea.

    • Diana Bishop on October 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      You will love it Susan I promise! I will be promoting the tour on my site from time to time so when you go to Paris next… just click through the link! Best, Diana

  5. Lynda Byrnes on November 21, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    I love Chenonceau. I visited it quite a while ago, and was completely smitten, especially of the grounds. Overly elaborate and gilded interiors are not really my thing, but give me a beautiful garden and that’s all it takes! I would love to brush up my French so I am ready to parle un p’tit peu en francais next time I get to visit my favorite country on earth!!

    • Diana Bishop on November 22, 2019 at 5:17 pm

      Hi Lynda…I felt that way too about the gardens at Chenonceau. Such a gorgeous spot.
      I am excited that you are interested in the Free French Lesson — you have now qualified to win this special treat.
      Thank you for your interest and for reading my blog. Diana

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    • Diana Bishop on December 14, 2019 at 4:38 pm

      Hi there — thank you for the note. Delighted to have you as part of my community of women who love Paris.
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      Too kind of you to say — thank you, Diana

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