Chaumont Chateau – 14/6/2016

Chaumont Chateau is situated above the village of Chaumont-sur-Loire, between the towns of Blois (17 km) and  Amboise (20 km), overlooking the Loire river.  Chaumont Chateau is now a museum which hosts an annual International Garden Festival.  

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Brief History

In 1000 AD, the Count of nearby Blois built the fortress overlooking the river, to keep vigil over the border between the counties of Blois and Anjou and to protect Blois from invaders. In 1054, the chateau became the possession of Sulpice I d’Amboise and remained in the family for the next 500 years.  In 1555, Louis XI ordered the chateau to be burned down as punishment for a rebellion against the king by Pierre Amboise.  Pierre’s son rebuilt the chateau by 1510 and some 50 years later Catherine de Medici, following her husband’s, King Henry II’s death, purchased the chateau.  Ironically, de Medici exchanged the chateau for the chateau de Chenonceau with King Henry II’s mistress ,Diane de Poitiers.  The castle changed hands many times and was eventually purchased in 1750 by French aristocrat, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray as a vacation home, only to be lost in 1790 after the newly formed Revolution Government in Paris took charge.  The chateau changed hands a couple more times before the French government took ownership and it became a UNESCO world heritage site.

Chateau

We randomly picked Chateau de Chaumont to visit, after looking at brochures and deciding on visiting one we had not seen before.  There is a steep walk up the hill to reach the chateau, but so worth it, it is reminiscent of a Disney fairy-tale castle, truly beautiful.  Although the rooms are more sparsely decorated than some chateaus it is definitely worth a look.

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The Catherine de Medici Room

This room has the oldest tapestry in the chateau, woven in Tournai in the late 15th century of Perseus and Pegasus and another tapestry created in the late 16th century in Flanders of David and Abigail.  Although the furniture looks like it may have come from de Medici’s time, the bed is actually from the 19th century and has elaborate carvings of figures, fruits and leaves.  Other furniture in the room is older, the throne is from the 16th century and the wardrobe from the 15th century.

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Other Rooms in the Chateau

Dining Room (left), Tearoom (right)

The Library filled with not only books but tapestries to.

The Chapel

I will admit, that although I was drawn to the chapel’s whimsical, fairyland look at the time we visited, I had not idea what the story was behind it, just that it looked cool.  Turns out its the work of Swiss artists, Gerda Steiner and Jorg Lenzlinger, who used tangled dried branches, plants, dried flowers and grasses collected in the gardens of the chateau, along with objects like CDs for their creation of a dreamland.  It was created for the 2015 season, but was still there when we visited in 2016, so maybe a permanent exhibit?  This is not the first art piece done by the Swiss artists at the Chateau, previously, (though no longer there) they had created coloured crystals spilling from the dining table.  The chapel is quite magical.

International Garden Festival

The International Garden Festival is an annual event between April and early November,  (check the website for exact dates) which showcases talent from around the world, who exhibit their garden ideas on a given theme.  In 2016, the theme was “Gardens for the coming century”.  Artists showcased how gardens may look having to overcome things like rising sea levels and climate change.  Some of the gardens were really interesting, Tristan and I enjoyed looking around them.  There were 24 garden exhibits, below is an overview of just three of those.

Frankenstein’s Garden was created by British landscape artists,Anca PANAIT and Greg MEIKLE.  The concept is that science can have unpredictable reactions and in this case nature is taking over with hybrid plants, but beauty can come from this chaos.

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QUE VIENNE LA PLUIE… by French team, Frédérique LARINIER, landscaper/agricultural engineer, Gaël BARDON, landscape-gardener and Emmanuel PUYBONNIEUX, basket weaver.  With the idea that temperatures will rise 1 – 6 degrees in the next century causing sea levels to rise, this will result in humans evolving to live in new ways in their environment.  This is their idea of how it may evolve.

NÉO-NOÉ – created by French team; Thierry DUPEUX and Julien GUÉNÉGUÈS, DPLG: architects Alexandre MARTINET, landscaper, Anaïs MOUREAU, designer, and Christian PIEL, urban planner and hydrologist.  This entry was inspired by muscle farms, the plant covered supports are filters to remove pollution from the water as well as feeding the plants.  The idea of adapting to rising sea levels but leaving a positive footprint by removing pollution.

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While some of us looked around the exhibits, others happily sat chatting. 

The Park

Surrounding the chateau are some formal gardens and parkland with mature trees.  A nice, relaxing walk.

The Stables

An oversight on our part, but we missed the stables completely, Oh well.  The stables were built in 1877 and at the time were some of the most luxurious in Europe.  You can take a look at the saddlery and the horse drawn carriages.

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If you use drive across the bridge from the chateau and turn left you will get a wonderful view looking back at the chateau.

Tourist Information for Chaumont Chateau

Opening Hours

  • Closed 1st January, 25th of December
  • 2nd January – 1st January – 10 am – 5.30 pm
  • 1st February – 31st March – 10 am – 6 pm
  • 1st April – 23rd April – 10 am – 7 pm
  • 24th April – 31st August – 10 am – 8 pm
  • 1st September – 30th September – 10 am – 7:30 pm
  • 1st October – 27th October – 10 am – 7 pm
  • 28th October – 18th November – 10 am – 6 pm
  • 19th November – 31st December – 10 am – 5.30 pm

Cost:

See table for cost of tickets for 2018:

2018 2nd of Jan – 31st of March 1st of April – 31st of Oct 1st of Nov – 31st of December 2 Day Pass Multimedia Castle Guide
Child under 7 Free Free Free free €4
Child 7 to 12 €4 €6 €4 €10 €4
Reduced Price €7 €12 €7 €20 €4
Adult €12 €18 €12 €30 €4
Family (2 adults + 2 child, under 12) €24 €36 €24   €4 pp

Official Website: http://www.domaine-chaumont.fr/

Written by Karen

Updated January 2018

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