Wednesday, April 26, 2017

France, Loire Valley - Château de Cheverny III (The Gardens)

The Cheverny Castle has a truly picturesque vegetable garden 
which offers an array of colours, textures and tastes across its wide range of flowers and vegetables.
Each season displays its own colours, products and fragrances.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

France, Loire Valley - Château de Cheverny II (The Gardens)

The Château is set upon an ocean of green lawns and it's surrounded by an English-style park. 
The gardens and the park at Cheverny are vast 
and include the formal gardens and water features that we expect of a Loire Valley castle, 
as well as less formal areas of woodland. 

The ornamental garden, called The Apprentice’s Garden, covers an area once occupied by a formal French garden.
Situated between the château and the Orangery it boasts a splendid view over the park.

At the castle's left side is the English-style park, where Paul de Vibraye acclimated between 1820-1860 some rare trees. 
The park holds an interesting collection of trees including giant redwoods, 
cedars (a magnificent cedar alley more than 500m long), lindens and lime trees.

France, Loire Valley - Château de Cheverny I

The Château de Cheverny is located at Cheverny, in the département of Loir-et-Cher on the Loire Valley in France.
The château cuts an impressive figure against its impeccably landscaped grounds, 
and presents an immaculate picture of symmetry, peace and the aristocratic good life.

This castle is a rare thing within the Loire Valley - a chateau that appears to be untouched by time. 
This could have a lot to do with the fact that it has belonged to the same family, the Huraults, for over six centuries. 

The Cheverny Castle was built by Henri Hurault, Compte de Cheverny, sometime between 1604 and 1635, 
and it’s one of the latest Loire Valley castles to be built.

The 17th century chateau is built in pure Louis XIII Classical style and has a rigid symmetry and a homogeneous style. 
It is made of white Bourré stone (which has the particularity of whitening and hardening with age, 
which gives the southern façade its characteristic whiteness). 
The look is softened by the architect’s use of different roof styles from bell towers to domes. 
It remained unchanged since the building work was completed.

Soon after the construction, it was briefly owned by Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of King Henri II. 
She preferred the more ostentatious Château de Chenonceau and sold the property back to the owner’s son, Philippe Hurault.

Today, the chateau is still owned and inhabited by the descendants of the original builders, and has retained an intimate charm. 
The Hurault family still lives in the castle’s right wing which is not open to the public. 

It was one of the first chateaux to open its doors to the public in 1914. 

The estate served as the inspiration for Captain Haddock’s stately home in the Tintin comics. 
In Hergé’s The Adventures of Tintin comic books, it was used as a model for the hot-tempered Captain Haddock’s ancestral home. 
The fictional Château de Moulinsart, or Marlinspike Hall in the English translations, 
is almost an exact replica of the Château de Cheverny. 
The castle houses a permanent Tintin exhibition.

Friday, April 21, 2017

MySpot: Winter Is on My Head


"As winter strips the leaves from around us, 
so that we may see the distant regions they formerly concealed, 
so old age takes away our enjoyments only to enlarge the prospect of the coming eternity."

Jean Paul Richter

France, Loire Valley - Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire VIII (The Valley of the Mists)

The Valley of the Mists (Le Vallon des Brumes) offers a special landscape, 
with luxuriant and humid vegetation that one discovers crossing a small wood bridge and descending a narrow path, 
such as Indiana Jones. 

This is a small ravine with steep slippery steps to the bottom, where mist is blown in clouds every minute or so. 
The sprinklers release misty water for a few seconds, then the light plays between the suspended droplets and the lush foliage.

The Valley of the Mists is an amazing sensory experience, where one can walk down into a mysterious mist filled valley, 
with the very fine mist being pulverized into air, steam jets constantly raising a foggy cloud, 
ferns and rays of sunlight piercing the thick mist create a particularly refreshing and unique decor.