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!
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.