Happy New Year !! I know I’m a day or so late and I have no excuses.
Not only that, but I am also about to show you pictures of Christmas decorations.
However, these are not just any old Christmas decorations. They’re at the Château de Chenonceau. Our friends Jim and Pauline posted about them a few days ago and I felt compelled to go and have a look. They’re on display until this coming weekend. I suppose like everywhere else they’re taken down on twelfth night.
I first visited the Loire in 1994, twenty years ago. In all that time I have only been to Chenonceau twice before. Three visits in twenty years isn’t a lot for somewhere so magical.
On both of my previous visits I was completely blown away by the flower displays in all the rooms, so I knew the Christmas decorations would be amazing. I can definitely say it was worth making the journey.
It was also very good value for money. At 11€ each to see the house and gardens it was a similar price as the fee to look round most châteaux, many of which have nowhere near as much to see.
Every room was filled with the glorious perfume of fir trees and lilies. The flower arrangements were huge, almost architectural, yet imaginative and tasteful in the extreme.
We were lucky with the timing of our visit too. It was not exactly deserted but relatively quiet when we arrived just about 1.15pm. I imagine a lot of people were still having lunch ~ it was a Saturday. On both my previous visits it was midsummer and heaving with visitors.
We were able to wander round in relative comfort and with a little patience could get all the photos we wanted. Just as we completed our tour of the château, what seemed like hundreds of visitors swarmed down the drive towards the house. Several coachloads of oriental people had just arrived.
While they piled into the house we wandered around the garden, having it almost (not quite) to ourselves.
Chenonceau is one of those places where you never see everything first time round. You would have to be there for hours to notice every detail, apart from the fact that if it’s busy you physically can’t get to see it anyway. It’s stuffed full of little treasures such as this jelly mould, which was in one of my favourite rooms, the kitchen.
In a lot of rooms there were real fires burning in the grate. I can’t imagine ever seeing such a thing in say Chatsworth, or a National Trust property. It must break many health and safety rules at once, but what a lovely touch it was on a cold winter’s day.
So, as I said, no excuses. But plenty of reasons. I’ve been busy enjoying our current stay in France! I hope 2014 brings you lots of good times and good things. Your visits to the blog and comments are very much appreciated.