We headed south west in the direction of Chenonceaux which is the village that gives it’s name to Chateau Chenonceau. Aptly named as the “Palace of Women” because over the ages only women have owned and lived in the chateau. Originally built in 1512 by Catherine Briconnet it was Diane de Poitiers who would build the bridge that spans the Cher river. Catherine de Medici then added the galleries over the bridge.
Chenonceau is not as pompous as Chambord and is a pleasanter chateau in general. The gardens were laid down to either side of the entrance. One by Diane of Poitiers and the other by Catherine de Medici. I think this is one of the more impressive chateaus in the whole of the Loire Valley. It certainly is one of the better known.
Again, I took the same equipment as yesterday with me namely the Olympus E-M1 mounting the Olympus 12-100 f4 and the Olympus E-M5 II mounting the Panasonic 7-14 f4. The 7-14 f4 was indispensable for interior shots (and outside) to get the whole palace with gardens. I also used the Panasonic TZ101 for some longer shots and it has earned a place in my camera bag (for now).
I must admit I am taken with the 12-100 f4 on the E-M1. It’s like it was made for this camera (and the E-M1 II of course). Now I’m not going to contemplate what it’s like on the E-M1 II. I just don’t want to go down that road, imagining an upgrade to my E-M1. Not going to happen presently. The Panasonic 7-14 f4 fits the Olympus E-M5 II perfectly. The weight and size is perfect for this type of camera. Anything heavier (thinking of the Olympus 7-14 f2.8) would unbalance the camera and the whole rig would be front heavy. I’m only speculating about the Olympus f2.8 lens because I haven’t tried it on the E-M5 II and it is a heavier lens.
All I can say is all cameras and lenses are performing flawlessly. Any bad images here are purely my fault.
Firstly images taken with the Olympus E-M1 with the Olympus 12-100 f4 Pro
The stables now converted into a coffee house
This is all that remains of the original chateau that
stood here before being pulled down to make way
for the Chenonceau we know today.
Image taken by the Olympus E-M5 II and the Panasonic 7-14 f4 lens.
All ceilings were decorated. A few remain in excellent
condition. I attempted to take a few which will be
posted throughout these posts.
As usual the kitchens were situated deep in the cellars.
Just goes to show how good the builders were at that time.
First floor corridor to the bedrooms.
Everything was decorated from the floors to the ceilings.
To show how important every millimetre is at the wide end, compare the following two images. The first taken at 12mm and the second at 7mm. This is why some photographers strive to find the widest lens possible. At the long end of the lens, this isn't all that important. You really won't see a difference even if one lens is 20mm or even 30mm longer.
Taken at 12mm
Taken at 7mm
This image looks pretty wide but it was actually taken
at 11mm. My lens is at it's widest at 7mm so I could
have gone a lot wider.
Images taken with the Panasonic TZ101
Compare these images with similar ones taken with other cameras above. Although there is a large difference between sensor sizes you will be hard put to distinguish between the images at this size. Print these at larger sizes, then you would see a difference. Just proves that if you want a carmera for just web viewing, almost any camera you purchase today will do the job.
Since the crowds start arriving in droves towards late morning, we got there early and finished our tour by the time the buses started to arrive. It was time to head out. We only do one of these better known chateaus per day because you have to really take your time to explore the details within, and secondly we’re here to enjoy these places. More than one a day would be extremely taxing, but you do get a bus or two of Asians doing two or even three chateau visits per day. Crazy!
We headed further south to a village/town called Loches (in this part of France you will find large tows few and far between. Mostly they are largish villages), and it became a Royal City at some point. It has an interesting history concerning Richard the Lionheart and Joan of Arc (burnt at the stake in 1431 by the English). Please look that up for more information, it would be just too much for this blog post. Anyway, Loches was well worth the visit. A pleasant town.
Map showing position of Loches and Montresor.
(Our next visit after Loches). Chenonceau is situated
top center. Not too far away, but you still have to drive
on country roads here. takes longer than you think.
This is the Bishops residence. I'm always amazed at how
humble church leaders were (and still are).
Taken with the Olympus E-M5 II + Panasonic 7-14 f4
The Four Headed Horseman
Something I really like but don't see today are there
courtyards. It offers privacy, and I like that.
I personally wouldn't call this a chateau. It really is a
castle and all that is left is the keep. If you're wondering
why ist it that the keep is the last to fall, just take a look
at how thick the walls are.
You can't get away from churches in this part of the world.
I took a lot more images of them on this trip because the
Panasonic 7-14 f4 gives you a different perspective on things.
Taken with the Panasonic TZ101
Again, good light allows this camera to take decent
images. Compare with the images taken with my
"main" cameras above.
One of the remaining towers in front of the massive keep.
With plenty of time to spare we headed south east in search of a little town called Montresor, a small village of a few hundred people. Again a town with very interesting and colourful history. When these chateaus were in their prime and whoever lived there was all powerfull the people and the chateaus were intertwined. One depended on the other, and neither could exist without the other.
All images here were taken with the Panasonic TZ101. I just took that along in my jacket pocket because I’d been carrying my bag throughout the day. I felt like a little respite from it.
A typical mediaeval town. Every building was built
beneath the castle for protection.
This door had me intrigued. Really high but not as wide as
a normal door. Since people used to be smaller in that
period, why so tall?
Hunting was/is a big thing in this region
(but especially in the 19th Century).
Furniture used to be more massive too. I wonder how
many trees it took to build this piece?
This was taken at full zoom. I could see something in the
distance but couldn't make out what is was with the naked
eye. As you can see it's another church. Image quality isn't
too bad actually.
Back at base we decided to go for an evening stroll to explore some more of Blois. I mounted the 75 f1.8 on the E-M1 and the 12 f2 on the E-M5 II. The Panasonic TZ101 will always find a little niche to fit into. What surprised me most was the difficulty I was having finding motifs for my 75 f1.8. Normally I’m a longish lens kind of guy but here within the confines of the town, a wide angle really does make more sense. Even close-ups or detailed shots (read minimalistic) were difficult to find.
Images from 75 f1.8
The 12 f2 proved just as difficult for me to get a meaningful shot. Maybe I was having a bad day or just tired from the long day.
Images from 12 f2