Sunday, 19 July 2009

M is for


chenonceau in typical visiting weather

I'm cheating a bit, as I'm up to my ears in WIPs that need wrestled for the July WIPs Wrestlemania on Ravelry.  (Basically a chance to have some support in trying to finish some of the many works in progress that we all, no doubt, have languishing in corners, under cushions, behind settees, under fridges, in old coffee cups, etc etc etc...) 

Where does the cheating come in?  Well, my DS was over for a holiday recently, and we visited some of our favourite châteaux... Châteaux that have already received their own abc-along post...  Do you think I'll get away with it?!

Well, best foot forward, and a stiff upper lip etc.  I'm starting with Chenonceau, because it is my absolute favourite.  The weather was (yet again) unkind to us while we were there, and we had also been warned that some of the walls were under scaffolding for cleaning and restoration.  Did we still want to go?  Well, duh, yes! In the end, the scaffolding was draped with very cleverly constructed gauze prints of what the walls looked like behind the scaffolding.  Genius, as, unless you looked closely, you didn't really notice it.

For some reason I finally got a shot of my favourite room, too - the black-clad room of Louise of Lorraine.  She turned the chateau almost into a nunnery following the assassination of her husband, Henri III.

the mourning bedroom of louise de lorraine

And I don't think I've ever taken such a clear shot of the bed and tapestries in the bedroom of Catherine de Medici, either:

richness abounds

Blois was also on our itinerary.  With an additional falling down some steps, for me.  I sprained my foot, but didn't really feel it until we got home, so I was a bit lucky.  Kind of.  In a falling-over-and-hurting-myself-but-not-so-badly-as-to-ruin-the-day type way.

blois - the first view when walking/hobbling from the station

It's really rather an impressive edifice!  You're presented with the François I (early 1500's) wing on the left, and at the right you see the edge of the Gaston d'Orléans wing (early 1600's).

You then find yourself in front of the oldest part, the Louis XII wing, and entrance to the château.

the grand front door

Then you get inside and arrive in a courtyard surrounded by 3 eras of architecture!  It's stunning!  Well, it was a little less stunning than normal, as most of the courtyard was cordoned off...  I think I'm right in saying they were setting up lights for the Sons et Lumière (Sound and light) evening spectacle.  A fourth era of architecture, perhaps?  But the overall impression of awe wasn't dented that much!

the other side of the françois i wing with the amazing spiral staircase

the louis xii wing and chapel taken from the top of the spiral staircase

The next chateau we visited was Villandry!  I was very happy to show my DS this wonderful place.  The only thing marring the day was that although it was VERY hot, it was mostly cloudy and threatening thunder-showers at any minute.

the 'love' garden

I am rather fond of Villandry!  Although the chateau was 'officially' completed in the mid 1500's, the interior has been set out in late 18th century and Edwardian styles (early 20th century) - the latter being of the last incumbent, a Spanish doctor by the name of Joachim Carvallo, who bought the château in 1906.  (The castle is still owned by the Carvallo family.)

Although the place is more famous for its gardens than the interior of the chateau, I am repeatedly charmed by the nurseries on the top floor, the sumptuous yet simple bedrooms, the rustic kitchen, the 18th century dining room and especially by the incredible 15th century painted Moorish wood-panel ceiling to be found in a room to the back of a gallery of religious paintings.

:: sighs at the prettiness ::

To finish up, I'll give you a wee photo of part of the love garden... There are many more shots of the gardens to be found in the 'G is for...' post of a few months ago.

oh, I so want to put something about perfectly clipped love garden bushes...


cathyes61 Monday, 20 July 2009 at 13:08:00 BST  

Beautiful photography! I love your sense of humor. My mother is half Scottish, half British. I enjoyed looking at the buildings... we had an exchange student from France 6 years ago. I still keep in contact with him. BTW, my name is Cathy and I live in Dover, Delaware. I am cathyes61 on Ravelry and also have a blog but not as interesting as your blog. Thank you for sharing....

Susan Friday, 24 July 2009 at 03:31:00 BST  

I love seeing all the castles, so beautiful and amazing how they were built so long ago before power tools1

Mair Bloag Weejits

Footerin' Aboot

Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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