Diane de Poitiers

Diane de Poitiers (1499 – 1566), mistress of King Henry II of FranceDiane de Poitiers (1499 – 1566), mistress of King Henry II of France

Diane de Poitiers was the mistress of King Henry of France for 25 years. Their relationship probably started when Henry was between 16-18 years old, it was 'official’ from 1538, when Prince Henry was 19 years old, and Diane almost  40, twenty years his senior! 

She remained his favourite all through his life; It started when he was just a prince, continued when he married Cathérine de’ Medici in 1533 , when he became the Dauphin (succesor of the throne) because his elder brother died in 1536, and when he became king of France in 1547. 

Henry II (1519 – 1559), King of FranceHenry II (1519 – 1559), King of France
Catherine de' Medici (1519 – 1589), Queen of FranceCatherine de' Medici (1519 – 1589), Queen of France

Court life of Diane de Poitiers

Francis I and his courtiersFrancis I and his courtiers, Diane de Poitiers may very well be among them.

Diane de Poitiers had been a courtier all her life and knew the tricks of the trade. 

She got married at age 15 to Louis de Brézé, seigneur d'Anet. He was 39 years her senior. At age 22 she had two daughters, her husband died in 1531, when she was only 32.

During this time she had been lady-in-waiting for the most powerful women at the French court; to Queen Claude of France, wife of Francis I, to Louise of Savoy, the mother of Francis I and than to Eleanor of Austria, the second wife of Francis I.

In 1533 the 14 year old Maria de' Medici came to court to marry Prince Henry. Diane couldn't care less, this was a young girl that she could control and she knew she remained Henries favourite. She even took care of the 10 children Henry and Catherine produced. To have even more control Diane's daughter Françoise was in charge of Catherine's staff. 

As long as Francis I was still alive, his favourite mistress  Anne de Pisseleu was the star at the palace, and Diane just waited for her change to shine.

As soon as Francis died in 1559 Diane had the Duchess banned from court. She even went as far as have her imprisoned at the estate of her husband (who was already dead by then). Now it was her time! She now truly was the most powerful woman of France, for the next twelve years.

The love triangle between Henry, Catherine and Diane is expressed wonderfully by the Monogram of Henry, the intertwining H and C, or is it H and D?! The fact that you can find this monogram all over Chateau de Anet, seems proof that it is in fact the symbol of Henry and Diane and not that of Henry and Catherine.

Make you own decision, here are some examples to help you.

Symbol of King Henry II and Diane, or Catherine..?Symbol of King Henry II and Diane, or Catherine..?

Girlfight over the Chateau the Chenonceau

Then disaster struck in 1559 when Henri was fatally injured at a tournament. His wife queen Cathérine was eager to ban Diana de Poitiers from court, and did not even wait until the king was dead. According to legend Henry was crying out for Diane, but Catherine would not allow her to enter the royal bedchamber. Diane had to leave the court and could not say goodby to her beloved king. 

Diana went to the château the Chenonceau, which King Henry had given to her. She had always loved this chateau, and she was the one that had the arched bridge build that joins the Chateau to the other side of the river Cher. She also was responsible for the extensive flower and vegetable gardens.

Queen Catherine thought this castle (it's the lovely one that is built in the middle of the Cher River) was too much for the mistress and forced Diana to trade it for her own castle Château de Chaumont. 

Catherine made it her favourite residence during her years as regent of France.


Diane only lived at Château de Chaumont for a short while before she moved to her own Château d'Anet.

This castle also was a gift from the king and was built on the estate Diane had inherited from her husband Louis de Brézé (who had already died in 1531). Catherine could not take this from her.

Château de Chaumont


She lived seven more years, passing time with charity works, and died at the age of 65 in 1566. Her professional carreer did caught up with her and ultimately caused her dead; she had the habit of drinking liquid gold to keep her skin looking young (a requirement for a mistress to stay in business). This probably killed her in the end. 

Diane de Poitiers was buried in the mortuary chapel at Château d'Anet.

Chateau d'Anet
Diane de Poitiers ca. 1550Diane de Poitiers ca. 1550

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Plan your visit to Chateau de Chenonceau

Ticket fees and opening hours:

Adult ticket  € 13.00 Children € 10.00 Children under 7 years old : Free

The palace is open every day all year long- check accurate opening times on their website.

Hints and tips

Get fantastic aerial views of the Loire Valley Châteaux in a hot-air balloon! Departure from the village of Francueil, near Chenonceau, in the early morning or evening. More information.

Guided tours and Day Trips

Almost all tours to the Loire Valley visit the Chateau de Chenonceau, because it is just one of the most enchanting palaces!

How to get there

By Train

Click here for Eurail  where you can find Train Tickets and Schedules and also Rail passes which allows you to travel across 1 to 30 countries accros  Europe.

By Car

Chateau de Chenonceau
37150 Chenonceaux
France 

Official website

Where to stay

Chateau de Chissay

Only 5.6 km from Chateau de Chenonceau, (Amboise is 17 km away) you can spend the night in style in this lovely Chateau Hotel. It has an excellent restaurant and friendly, helpful staff. 

Not all rooms are inside the Chateau, so look carefully at the booking details to check where your room will be!

à 3 Place Paul Boncour
41400 Chissay-en-Touraine
France  


More information and reservations


La Renaudière

On walking distance, only 500 m from Château de Chenonceau, you will find this 18th-century manor. It is conveniently close to the Chenonceaux train Station (400m). Also close to the city centre whit a wide choice of restaurants. Low rates and big rooms!

24, rue Bretonneau
37150 Chenonceaux
France


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Plan your visit to Chateau de Chaumont

Ticket fees and opening hours:

Adult ticket  € 12.00 Children € 4.00 Children under 7 years old : Free

A Multimedia guide for the Château is € 4.00

The palace is open every day all year long- check accurate opening times on their website.

Hints and tips

  • If you want to see all the grounds and gardens with exhibitions and installations you need to buy the “Domain” ticket for 1 or 2 days. An adult ticket is 
  • Each year the International Garden Festival is held on the Caslte grounds of Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire. More information can be find on their website.

How to get there

By Train

Click here for Eurail  where you can find Train Tickets and Schedules and also Rail passes which allows you to travel across 1 to 30 countries accros  Europe.

By Car

Domaine Régional de Chaumont sur Loire
Le Château
41150 Chaumont-sur-Loire
France

Where to stay

Hostellerie Du Chateau

Comfortable hotel close to the entrance to the Chateau de Chaumont. You can save time buying the entrance tickets from the reception before you visit the Chateau. Also 45 minutes from Chambord.  Nice pool and terrace in the backyard!

2 Rue Du Maréchal De Lattre De Tassigny
41150 Chaumont-sur-Loire
France


More information and reservations



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Plan your visit to Château d'Anet

Ticket fees and opening hours:

April - 1st of October - the castle is open every day except Tuesday, between 14,00 - 18,00

In November, and between 1st of February - 31 of March - the castle is open only in the weekend between 14,00 and 17,00.

Hints and tips

  • You can only visit this chateau with a guided tour which will take about 1 hour. The guide will most probably speak French!

How to get there

By Train

Click here for Eurail  where you can find Train Tickets and Schedules and also Rail passes which allows you to travel across 1 to 30 countries accros  Europe.

By Car

Château d'Anet
2, place du château 
28260 Anet
France

Where to stay

Les Chambres de Diane

Nice chambres d'Hôtes in the center of Anet. The palace is right  behind the hotel at walking distance. 


More information and reservations



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