November 22, 2009

BACK TO THE CHÂTEAU

Having lived in the shadow of the château for almost two years, I was so excited that at last we would be able to see it properly. When we bought our little cottage in November 2007 it had already been closed for some time for building work and refurbishment. The old museum, which was the national centre for Prehistory, was being completely revamped. It was to be a top-notch museum that would potentially bring large numbers of academics and tourists to the village.



There had been several deadlines for the re-opening which came and went. Our neighbour, Mme André, was quite scathing about the modern design, the incompetence of the planners and the amount of money the whole thing was costing. The general feeling amongst the villagers seemed to range from indifference to disgust. If we asked people what they thought some would shrug and mutter something and others could be quite vocal in their disapproval. Very few seemed to like it or were excited about it.



Each time we came to stay in the village, something even more incongruous seemed to have been built onto it. I tried very hard to like it. Nick hated it. I was convinced of the quality of the materials and the design but felt I would eventually get used to it and maybe I would learn to love it because it was "ours".



One of the many reasons for the delay in the re-opening was that during some of the excavation work, some ancient sarcophagi were discovered in the grounds. These had to be dealt with properly by the archeologists and the authorities and that took several months. Apparently the finished project has cost €8,000,000.
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Once I was through the magnificent old doors I was amazed by how beautiful the château was. I had previously only seen old postcards and photos but the reality was so much better than I had expected. Also, the view over the village was wonderful.



We had a lovely day for it, sunny skies and swirling clouds gave a vibrant quality to the colours and a dramatic backdrop to the buildings. I was glad we had missed the heat and the crowds of the opening day in September. Having the place almost to ourselves was just perfect.


We approached the new extension with a certain amount of trepidation. There's no denying it had been built to create an impression. Exactly what impression is very personal and subjective. I was so pleased with what I had seen so far that I couldn't wait to get inside and see what it was all about.

5 comments:

  1. Jean,
    The Chateau looks very impressive and the fact that you enjoyed investigating it without hoards of tourists is even better.
    I remember Sue and I enjoyed many parts of Burgundy without the hoards, especially Abbaye de Fontenay where we met a couple with an Irish Setter that enjoyed chasing fish in the ponds. Then there was the Italian lady, all in pink that drove a pink Fiat Bambino. And that was about all of us that were there at the time.
    Yes, even though we are tourists, its nice that there are not so many to spoil the ambience......

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  2. Leon - having a full view of things without peering over other peoples' heads on tiptoe is always satisfying. Also not bumping into others, listening to their conversations or trampling on their children as they run around is good too.
    Not that we're completely antisocial or anything.
    Although, now I think about it.....

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  3. When we went to the museum I barely noticed the architecture of the new part and now that I've seen your photo of it, I'm glad. The rest of the buildings and grounds are terrific and photos from here made our top 100 list (I had to cut 600 photos because nobody would sit through all of them.)

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  4. Jean, Okay, I'm beginning to see what the architects were trying to achieve. Maybe I should visit the château myself to be totally convinced. Martine

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  5. Martine - trust me, once you are inside, you will love it. You will see why in the next blog.

    If you are planning a visit, let's try to get together. I would love to show you round our lovely village and we could have an apero on our little terrace.

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