As I explored each room at Chenonceau I felt how wonderful it must have been for Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de Medici and Louise of Lorraine to have such a place for a summer retreat. It had an open, airy, feminine atmosphere after the masculine Chambord we’d visited in the morning. Wouldn’t my friends and I enjoy a week here in the summer!Chambord had its charms such as an abundance of towers,a circular stone staircase, charming detail in down pipes and window latches,and bees and butterflies in the garden.Chenonceau had an immediate, warmer appeal. Perhaps it was the donkeys The kitchen garden – also full of bees and butterflies –or the Bentley in the garage, the way it is built over a river (the Cher),the ancient trees,or the floral art in nearly every room.Despite the hot day, the chateau was pleasant inside with its long, bridge-like layout and windows open on each side.It had warmth and charm,some grandeur,but didn’t overwhelm. This is probably because it has been a women’s retreat, not designed to impress in a fist-shaking kind of way as Chambord was. The flowers had a softening effect.People were boating and could pass under the chateau.There is a drawbridge. An ideal holiday bach, don’t you think?