OMG. OMG. OMG. Oui! Oui! Oui! That’s what I kept saying the entire day yesterday when we went to visit Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley. You’re going to hate me a little bit, but I have a little secret. I was telling my friend Kerri, that when I go to these castles I pretend that the tour guide is my real estate agent. Yesterday was no different. The second I laid eyes on the front façade, I said, “I’ll take it.” When we entered the front door, I wondered what all these people were doing in my house. I just wanted all of them to leave so I could start planning my first soirée for all of my friends. I live in a delusional world, and it seems to work for me.
My house, I mean Château de Chenonceau, has quite a history. Most extraordinarily is that the Château was loved, run, and protected by exceptional women. Yes, women. Château des Dames. Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de’ Medici, Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont, Gabrielle d’Estrées, Françoise de Lorraine, Louise Dupin, Marguerite Pelouze. Words that come to my mind in regards to the Château are “refined, elegant, sophisticated, feminine, livable and ladylike.”Everything was perfect. The perfect length of the tree allée, the labyrinth, the gardens, the river Cler, the views, the architecture, the setting, the manageable size, the floors, the vaulted ceilings, the fireplaces, the tapestries, the fabrics, the little rowboats, etc. Nothing sucked.
My absolute favorite part of the chateau was the potager. A potager, by definition, is a formally laid out kitchen garden that incorporates flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruit. Strolling through the fully functioning potager just made the chateau so current, so real, so alive, so “move-in ready.”
My only regret is not being able to see the kitchen. It was on the ground floor only accessible by tight winding steep stone steps. Apparently, I was told, it is my dream kitchen.
After the tour, we had a lovely lunch in the gourmet restaurant, L’Orangerie. From our table, we had a view of the Château, the gardens, two magnificent statues/busts and a beautiful fragrant magnolia tree. Honestly, not to be a snob, but the whole place reminded me of my grandmother’s house. Maybe it was the balustrades, the grounds, the magnolia trees, and something about the interiors. More on that later. I felt very at home and had a strange sense that I had been here before.
I only got into one little scuffle at the Château. Some idiot held his toddler over the balcony. I started screaming, “Not a good idea! Not a good idea!” He ignored me and did it anyway. After he was finished nearly killing his toddler Michael Jackson style, I said it to the little boy, “Hooray, you didn’t die!” I knew the father just wanted to punch me, but he couldn’t because I’m in a wheelchair. I should’ve had the sense to have my staff escort them out of my house.
This is a definite must-see on your France list.
Mi casa es su casa.