I had the recent pleasure of being on my first “chase”, which is to take a car trip for a designated number of days with the goal of discovering as much as possible. This chase was going to focus on discovering châteaux and everything medieval. So off we headed to the Loire Valley.
It was fortunate that there was mild weather, sunny skies and signs of spring at every turn. The hilly country roads provided what seemed to be an unending expanse of freshly planted fields and acres of newly sprouted green pastures dotted by both small and large picturesque farms. The March skies presented an array of fluffy clouds, ever changing as a uniquely blurred kaleidoscope of blues, grays and white.
The first stop was at a grand, expansive mansion set some distance off of the road and looking exactly like a château. We were not sure if the building was occupied or in neglect and so we chose to ignore the sign that said ‘private’. Once we got closer to the house it was obvious that the main portion was not occupied. The long, expansive wings of main house appeared to be divided into individual rental units. After admiring the lines and details of this beautiful building we headed out at the convenient moment when a young woman was entering. She was happy to chat with us and recounted that our impression was accurate in that this was a château. She confirmed that the main section was not in use and that the other sections had been divided and rented. She further told us that the property was constructed by a nobleman and had been in the family for many generations. The current owners were reported to have a home in back of the main house. Our fantasies ran wild with what prospects this charming château could offer and perhaps it would be worth a follow up visit if the owners would consent to a tour. As we were heading out, a small sign gave us the name of this first stop, Château de Mezière. With a little investigative work, I found that the original plans for the château date from 1640 but the present castle was built in the seventeenth century. It then underwent a major restoration in 1883.
To continue with our adventure go to my article published in BonjourParis: http://www.bonjourparis.com/story/chasing-loire-valley/