France, Loire
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Château de Chéverny

Another weekend, another château! This time we visited Château de Chéverny, which is the inspiration behind Marlinspike Hall, Captain Haddock’s and Professor Calculus’ home in Hergé’s Tintin comics. Oliver was particularly excited about this visit, as he is an avid Tintin fan. He literally jumped and squealed with delight when we walked in and he laid eyes on the Marlinspike Hall!

Derek and oli tintin recreation

Derek and Oliver re-created the image of Tintin and Captain Haddock walking towards Marlinspike Hall (aka Château de Chéverny)

tintin in cheverny

A funny little Tintin strip showing the main difference between Marlinspike (Mounlinsart in french) and Chéverny — an extra wing on either side of the Château.

back view of cheverny

The rear of the château.

Chéverny is a relatively small and simple looking château from the exterior, but for me, it was one of the more beautiful that we’ve seen. I found the furnishings and decor to be rather exquisite, and very nicely representative of the era.

nursery cheverny

Beautiful and bright children’s room, outfitted with antique toys. The wooden horses are from the era of Napoleon III (1800s).

dining room ceiling and fireplace

Ornately decorated ceiling panels and fireplace wall in the dining room.

the salon

The grand salon.

the salon

The ceilings in the grand salon were rather amazing.

One thing we all found very interesting, is that we finally discovered the reason for all the foreshortened beds we’ve seen in this era of châteaux — apparently the reclined position was one reserved for the dead! Not only that, but they were actually afraid to sleep lying down, for fear of choking on their tongues — sleeping was done sitting up! This is the first time we’ve actually seen it mentioned in a brochure, and the kids always wondered if it was just that everyone was really short back then 😉

the king's chamber

The King’s chamber (and short bed!)

library

The library, with a beautiful painted piano.

The hall of arms

The Hall of Arms — A collection of 15th, 16th, and 17th century armour and arms.

The staircase is always a lavish feature in any château. No different here, with it’s coved stone ceilings and intricately carved marble columns and balusters. This particular staircase, “l’escalier d’honneur”, showcases an amazing prehistoric skull and antlers, dating over 6000 years old! It was discovered in Siberia about 200 years ago. Mounted on the wall at the actual height of the animal (the Irish Elk — cervus megacerous) it is a rather imposing sight.

up the stairs

Gorgeous coved ceilings and carved columns in the central stairwell, “l’escalier d’honneur”.

derek on stairs

On the stairwell landing, 16th century armour and an incredible prehistoric skull and antler — over 6000 years old! It is mounted at the actual height of the animal, the Irish Elk.

down the stairs

Looking down the stairs. Love the tiled floor, and more carved marble.

The grounds, as always, were a joy to wander through. Behind the château is a relatively new garden and archway, leading to the Orangerie. We all had a good laugh at the map on the brochure, which noted several “arbres remarquables”, or Remarkable Trees. Funny!

cheverny fountain

The fountain, with a view of the back of the Château.

arched arbor

A newer garden planted in the back of the Château, chock full of colourful mums in the fall while we were there.

"remarkable" trees

The map of the grounds pointed out several “arbres remarquables” — this beauty shedding it’s leaves was one such Remarkable Tree. 🙂

another remarkable tree

Another “remarkable tree”

One thing I haven’t got any photos of is the kennel. There are over a hundred large hounds frolicking and playing in the kennels at Chéverny. As you might expect, the smell is absolutely horrifying! Hence the lack of photos, as I literally had to cover my mouth and nose in order to be in the vicinity. Just thinking about it has me smelling it again!! Next to the kennels is the Jardin de Potager (kitchen gardens), and in fall it was chock-full of beautiful squashes, pumpkins, and gourds (one of my favourite french words — coloquintes!) as well as a giant pumpkin that the kids insisted on sitting upon.

pond in the park

In a serene corner of the grounds, the pond is surrounded by trees and inhabited by swans.

jardin de potager

Like most châteaux, Chéverny has a gorgeous and abundant Jardin de Potager (veggie garden) on the grounds.

IMG_5295

Perhaps our favourite part of our visit to Chéverny was a look around the Tintin museum. But that must be saved for the next post! I will try to get to that one over the next couple days, in my attempt to catch up.

photo op

A framed photo op out front of Chéverny — a kind stranger offered to take a photo of the four of us!

sunset on the way home from cheverny

Incredible sunset over the fields on the way home.

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