Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, October 19, 2009

Château de Brézé

One of the coolest things about my trip last week was stopping by a château I've wanted to visit since first hearing about it in 2004. This particular château caught my attention because of the kilometers and kilometers of tunnels running underneath it. The earliest written reference to the underground portion of the castle dates back to 1063, where it was used as a defensive stronghold by the lords of Brézé. The tunnels are all at least 9m underground, and like the troglodyte farms, were set up to support all lifeforms for long periods of time. There were living quarters, stables, a well and my favorite - even a bread oven:It's interesting to note that the exterior portions of the castle only date back to the 16th century, and that the towers and other decorative features weren't added until the early 19th century.
Once back above ground, I entered the château to visit the wing that was open to the public (the count and his wife still live in the other wing). I have to say thought that the best thing about the visit was that I was literally the only person there besides the woman selling the tickets. I had all the tunnels and the entire château to myself, which allowed me to do some "investigative" exploring. For example, I saw this and thought "hmm...what could be up those stairs?". I looked to the right, and then to the left, and decided to go for it.
At the top of the stairs was a closed door. I tried the handle and lo and behold, it opened to this:It was strange little room with several mattresses on the floor and some curious little knickknacks - old oil lamps, a pair of baby shoes and some glassware (click on the picture to enlarge it). But why?? Why would that stuff be there??Once I was done exploring, it was off to visit the château's vineyards. I had a lovely chat with the (cute) sommelier and then did a free tasting of what they had to offer. I bought a bottle of their crémant and then had a quick look around the grounds before moving on to the next site. I really couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. Since I'd been looking forward to visiting for so long, I was worried it would end up being a let down, but it ended up exceeding my expectations!

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3 Comments:

Blogger jadie said...

this sounds enchanting, sam. how i wish i could have been along on that exploration!

October 19, 2009 at 5:58 PM  
Blogger Starman said...

Wow, that's a gorgeous place. And imagine having it all to yourself. The room you weren't supposed to see certainly raises some questions. Maybe the ticket lady lives there?

October 19, 2009 at 8:52 PM  
Blogger Leah said...

That looks awesome! You're such a bad@$$ sneaking up those stairs like that, I'm jealous...I always wonder what's behind the closed doors and blocked staircases and never get to find out!

October 19, 2009 at 10:30 PM  

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