Monday, April 25, 2005
On Sunday we woke up to a dark overcast day and decided to take a road trip to the Loire Valley. We drove to Cheverny chateau about two hours away. On the way there, we passed by one of my favorite chateaux -- Chambord. We took a picture from the road. It's just a breathtaking place.
We've been to the Loire Valley a few times but we've never visited Cheverny. What cinched the deal is the Tintin exposition they have there. My son is very interested in Tintin right now. He asked for Tintin books for his birthday. He's got about half of the collection now.
Cheverny chateau is owned by descendents of the original builders, the Hurault family. The family lived in the Chateau until 1985 and it is special because of that fact. The chateau has an intimate charm. There are pictures of the family prominently displaced. There is a rich collection of original furniture. My daughter kept asking who's room she was looking at because you felt like the owners were just in another room at the moment. There is also a treasure hunt for the children to entertain them as they walk through Cheverny chateau.
In addition, the grounds are beautiful. According to the brochure, the overall design of Cheverny was inspired by the Luxembourg Palace in Paris. Aside from walking around the grand park, you can ride a boat on the canal, take a ride on a golf cart (the golfcart guy came around to us no less than 4 times asking if we wanted to take a canal ride -- for an extra cost), and visit the kennels with 70 Anglo-French (Foxhound-Poitevins) dogs housed there. There is also an Orangery, which was closed to the public. During WWII the Orangery was used to house part of the treasures of the State, including the Mona Lisa.
We brought a lunch with us and there was a place specifically reserved for pique-niques. It was a lovely afternoon. After our tour of the chateau, and the purchase of a medallion, we headed into the small town for ice cream.
My kids walking up to the Chateau. Tintin walking up to the Chateau (take off the two wings of the chateau)
-- said Auntie M in Paris
# posted by Anonymous : 5:48 PM
You really live it up over there... I hope when I go study abroad in Paris I get to do as much as you!
# posted by Joe : 7:01 PM
Moi, j'aussi adore Tintin! The books are fairly popular in Canada. I read the books in English when I was young and I'm rereading them in French now.
# posted by Laura : 7:32 PM
Yes, Tintin is extremely popular. Every couple of years, there is an auction in Paris of Tintin memorabilia (just as there is in the USA for collector baseball cards, for example). The prices are going up and up, year by year. My kids (ages 20+) loved Tintin and, apparently, Auntie's son does, too, which indicates that the Tintin phenomenon still has quite a way to go before burnout.
Purchasing such items (authentic items with genuine provenance, of course) might turn out to be a very, very smart investment in the years to come. Louis Schweitzer, the outgoing Renault CEO, is a fanatic Tintin collector, by the way.
# posted by L'Amerloque : 8:34 PM
Joe, I guess I didn't realize Tintin was known in the US. Good to know that! I've always thought Asterix was for children older than my 8 year old son, but I'll have to check those books out.
Laura, I love exploring France.
L'A, Part of the reason my son is so interested is his French uncle who is a Tintin fanatic... knows all the stories from all the books, has all the expensive figurines on display and reads to my son when we visit. The uncle thinks the video version of the books is awful and not true to the stories.
# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 8:46 PM
# posted by : 10:11 PM
# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 10:22 PM
Thanks for the photos. Seems like a fun chateau to take kids to.
# posted by chrisc : 1:59 PM