For those following my Vallée de la Loire adventure, we headed to the city of Tours and Château Cheverny after Chambord and Blois. What struck me most during this brief 4 day adventure was how varied and unique these little cities and châteaux were. Cheverny was particularly exciting for this reason because it felt a bit more adventurous in what it had to offer. I also thought it was a particularly kid-friendly castle.
The grounds of this property are huge and it amazes me as I look through the photos now, just how wintry they felt at the time. Although we are stll fighting cold temps in Paris, the lusher trees and beautiful flowers have brought so much life to the city. I’m sure visiting the Loire Valley now would be also be a much greener experience.
Entering this château felt like entering a very (very, very) big house. No major grandiosity, we just walked towards the main door, walked up a few stairs and turned the knob. We were greeted by an older woman who handed us a very well-done brochure and sent us off on our tour. Inside, it was fully decorated and very warm, which was a wonderful solace for our frigid hands and noses. We walked through the very well furnished rooms admiring all the little details. Trays of pâtisseries were laid out and huge flower displays adorned the rooms. My favorite room by far was the nursery. The old-day interpretation of a children’s room was so reminiscent of period movies with the little rocking horse and the high-cot.
I’ve also discovered during my short time here that Tintin is somewhat of a legend for the French – old or young – and so anyone who is a fan of this avid little explorer, created by the Belgian Comic Book artist Hergé, would be delighted to visit this château. Apparently, Château de Moulinsart was modelled after Cheverny. In The Adventures of Tintin, the outermost wings of the château don’t exist but the central tower and flanking wings are a replica. There is a mini-museum dedicated to Tintin bedecked with little movies, life-size replicas and recreations of some of the most important scenes. It was a lot of fun to walk through even though I couldn’t relate or understand most of the French. I can assure you however that there were full-grown men soaking up the artefacts like little children. It was fun to watch and extremely endearing.
The Apprentice’s Garden, an ornamental garden which sits between the château and the Orangery was one of my favorite parts of the grounds. I love the statue of the woman, her back to the château as if guarding the gardens. The one thing I’m utterly disappointed to have missed is the kennels. Because Cheverny is an important hunting venue, the kennels house about 100 French hounds with the “V” for Vibraye (the name of the owner who opened it to the public) shorn into the right flank of each hound. They do a feeding session that is open to the public everyday at 5pm. Unfortunately we had already moved on by then as we were there before lunch time. If you can, try not to miss it!