Chateau Meung-sur-Loire

It’s enough to strike fear into the heart of even the most stalwart Parisian, never mind softie Paris dwellers such as us…

…A polite notice in the hallway of our apartment building telling us that there is going to be a party in the apartment above us on a weekend when the temperatures are set to soar above 30°C. Sure we were invited, but we don’t know anyone, can barely speak the language and are about 20 years too old for this sort of shenanigans!

I’m pretty sure this is karma getting me back for all the parties I had back in the Holy Lands of Belfast. Ironically, my neighbor was French! I remember finding her during one party at 2 am, plonked on my sofa with a glass of wine in one hand and a plate of food in the other as one of my drunken buddies pressed her to eat, drink and stay a while. The poor woman had just come in to ask us to turn down the music so her 1-year-old and 3-year-old could sleep. Oh, Lord, I’m so going to hell – or maybe I’m there already! Still, our French neighbor in Belfast often got her own back when she let her kids scream for hours and hours often at 7 am on a Sunday morning…people in our street didn’t get much sleep back then. But back then I was young and fit for it …not so now!

So I decided we needed a trip to a place that was quiet and that had air-conditioning. I fancied the Loire Valley, the nearest town being Orleans. For 50 Euros I could get us a nice room overlooking an empty parking lot and some disused land (who needs a view when you have a lovely one all year round?) The building was new and characterless – exactly what we needed after our quirky Paris pad and the AC…so cool!

We took the train to Orly airport and picked up a car for 30 Euro and hit the road – a night away for under 100 Euro and no rave music to listen too – heaven!

We checked in then headed for the nearest Chateau.

To be honest, I expected to be able to drive along the Loire Valley and see the castles looking down upon me, but you kind of have to search them out down winding country roads and potter through picturesque (and seemingly deserted) country villages.

The first one we found was Chateau Meung-Sur-Loire. It felt very off the beaten track since we were the only ones there. It’s unheard of in Paris to have anything to yourself never mind an entire castle, and it was wonderful. Oh, and it was pink! How perfect for me – I’ll take two…

Joan of Arc – a saint I admire so much I took her name for my confirmation name – hung out in these parts. It was where she kicked English butt before the church turned on her and decided that a girl couldn’t wear trousers! At least they made her a saint but not before burning her at the stake.

It weird to think she may have worn these suits of armor or talked to someone wearing them. I think this one looks like C-3PO

This scene held such a fairly tale magic about it.

And the best thing about this place was you didn’t have to wonder where these stairs went – you could go everywhere in the castle. It was time to explore.

I enjoyed how the rooms were staged – medieval style.

I did wonder about the headless cook though…

The bedrooms looked luxurious.

We even got to go to the attic, which had old toys stored in it – what else! It reminded me of the attic in my parents home with all our old toys in it – except ours were smaller and less castley!

In this interesting sign about the attic, I was appalled to learn that they only did laundry twice a year! That must have stank…

Then they hung it to dry in the attic – hardly lenor freshness!

Thankfully this castle did have a bathroom, complete with sunken bath.

or not sunken – if you prefered. I mean if you own a whole castle, why not have a few different baths to choose from?

Not to mention comodes and potties!

And of course you’d have your very own church.

With an altar to none other than Joan of Arc.

The village was adorable – though somewhat empty. Where are all the people?

Why do all the cute shops always seem to be closed?

We never seem to get the rhythms of France quite right. We’re usually too late for lunch and too early for dinner!

But it all makes for pretty pictures.

That night we put on the AC, pulled the shutters and slept like babies  – Refreshed and ready to view more castles the next day.

Byddi Lee