Some years ago, I splurged on a stay in an actual French chateau. Sadly, I can’t remember its name, but it was in the Loire Valley. (I’ve learned my lesson: now I always take a picture of the entry and sign of anyplace I visit). That’s me above, enjoying the grand ambiance–or maybe exhausted after a long confusing drive trying to find the place, before the days I started using GPS. (I credit GPS with saving my marriage, bu that’s another subject).
The main salon had a dome painted fancifully with party guests cavorting and gazing down at festivities below them. The models were actual friends and relatives of the chateau’s owner. I think the chateau was refurbished in the early 1900s, and the dome painting was done around that time. La Belle Epoque!
For my all-too-brief stay, I could pretend to be one of the party guests drinking champagne under the long-ago moonlit sky.
The reality was not quite as glamorous. My room was a little threadbare and the mattress was way too hard. The much-hyped “spa” was a dreary basement room with a whirlpool that was not working. In fairness, I have to say that I was traveling in the off-season as usual, so things were probably being repaired.
Still, I was happy to wander the very grand public rooms and walk in the beautiful wooded grounds, following in the footsteps of glamorous–and possibly even royal–people in days gone by.
Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe!