Well world here we are all hunkered down in our various homelands and thinking that this lockdown will go on forever – but I am reminded of the old adage “this too shall pass”. Our home is in Normandy, but we are currently quarantined in our holiday home in Spain, so not complaining by any means.
I’ve been in touch with several of the ETTC DIY château owners to arrange Skype video vlogs so that we may share with you how they are faring in the midst of the pandemic, and those vlogs will be posted as soon as . . . but I’ve also been thinking about the châteaux themselves and imagining what stories would be shared – if walls could talk.
From some of the younger Normandy châteaux, Paul Golledge and Emma Newton from Château de Montvason have shared with us that bombs, mortar casings and bullet shells are regularly discovered on their grounds. It’s no surprise since their château was commandeered by the Germans during World War 2. Karen and Wayne Blanshard of Château de Vaudezert found Hershey’s chocolate wrappers and Lucky Strike cigarette packets hidden in the floorboards of their chapel; remnants of the allied European liberation forces. Sue and Steve Clarke’s Château La Garenne in Calvados was but a bombed-out shell before they restored it.
However, looking back in history – and I do mean WAY back – some of the older French châteaux have seen empires rise and fall through many periods of war; they have experienced periods of civil and political unrest, witnessed beheadings in their courtyards and lived on through plagues.
Lisa and I recently watched an excellent Netflix series Reign (which BTW is absolutely riveting and totally bingeworthy especially if you’re a lover of costumes). In this series (which portrays the story of Mary Queen of Scots) you witness the great variety of stories to be told – if walls could talk. Solitary confinements in the tower, imprisonment in the dungeon, storming of the château walls by enemy invaders, and yes, the lockdown of the castle during the black plague.
So, we bid you stay well during your self-isolation and when this pandemic is in the rear-view mirror, we invite you to visit the châteaux of France and experience first-hand the stories they have to tell. For a map and list of the ETTC DIY and other great French châteaux, click here. Of course, you are also invited to like our Chateaux Escapes France Facebook page, and share this article!