Virtually every French Loire Chateau has -as do almost all French Chateaus – a marketable feature. A unique “something” (or something presented as such) designed to snare the attention of Chateau surfers. Something more than the age of it’s stones or how many nobles were born, died or murdered there.
Chenonceau – The rivalry between Catherine di Medici and Diane de Poitiers. Islette – The tempestuous romance of Rodin and Camille Claudel. Amboise – The Leonardo di Vinci connection.(Now the town’s major industry.) OK – you’re getting my drift. Are you not?
But, for me, the French Chateau that takes the cake(and the topping cherry) in the Chateau Marketing sweepstakes is the Chateau du Ussé.(rhymes with “Lucy”) While it’s not ON the Loire, it is in the Loire Valley in the neighbouring district of Touraine. (Pronounced “Tor- En”)Famous for it’s woodsy Gamay Wines.
Although a river does not run through it. A small but pleasant one, does run parallel to it on the opposite side of the road .
But clearly, those facts, fascinating as they may be, do not make Chateau Ussé the King of the Chateau marketing hill.The one that does begins with those classic advertising copywriting words : “Legend has it.”
And in for Chateau Ussé in particular “Legend has it” that Charles Perrault, the Author of the classic tale of the unstoppable power of love – “Sleeping Beauty” was inspired to, and did in fact, create said tome at Chateau Ussé. (You probably guessed Walt Disney, right?) )
And yes, high atop the Chateau, there is an entire chambre devoted to the re-creation of the Prince placing his Princely lips, ever so tenderly, on those of the Sleeping Beauty. Sadly, you can’t enter this glassed in scene. But you can ooh and ahh through the glass.
But wait -there’s more! A whole lot more. Continuing to vamp on the “Life in the 19th century” theme, throughout the Chateau mannequins faithfully attired in 19th century costumes are presented in a variety of scenes. From drawing room to laundry room. And beyond.
Truly one of the most imaginative and authentic representations of “Life in another time” I’ve experienced in my not unsubstantial French Chateau travels.
I think visitors(and I include myself here) reasonate particularly with these presentations, because they allow us to view “Life in another time” that is much closer to ours. Not dusty,unconfirmed “legends” from 500 years ago; that soul stirring/imagination firing as they may be, don’t make the same connection.
You can make your Sleeping Beauty connection in this video:
THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?