Thursday, April 16, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015 - Chateau Les Milandes, Janis gets a birthday surprise

For the afternoon, (which begins at 3 pm since lunch in a French restaurant is always a 2 hour affair) we cross the river and head to Château des Milandes. This is the storied château that was once the home of American singer and entertainer, Josephine Baker.

The château was originally built in 1489 by François de Caumont, Lord of Castelnaud because his wife wanted newer more elegant digs than drafty old Castelnaud. After the Caumont line died out in 1652, the castle was neglected until the Revolution and after that time had many different owners. Purchased in 1900 by industrialist Claverie, les Milandes underwent significant re-styling to it's current shape.

First rented in the 30s and then purchased in 1947 by Josephine Baker, this became her home until she lost it due to financial ruin later in her life. Josephine left the US in 1925 and found enormous success and wealth in Paris. But it seems she always spent more than she made, partly due to her big heart and passion for making life better for those around her. She served in the French resistance, using her entertainment value to reconnoiter German intelligence operations as well as entertain the troops in Africa for which she was awarded the Legion of Honneur and the Croix de Guerre.

The interior of the château can be visited but it is set up to reflect the life and decor of Josephine Baker. It is sometimes difficult to see the rooms as they were prior to WWII times due to the memorabilia of Josephine's that covers walls and floors. Nevertheless, there are fabulous bathrooms to be seen, elaborate bedroom, sitting room and dining room. And the rooms help you understand Josephine Baker as a person and entertainer. It would seem she was an effervescent personality with a serious passion and compassion for those around her.  Photos were not allowed in the château, so you'll have to visit to see this for yourself. The attached are photos I found on the web.

dining room

one of her bathroos
another bathroom
A bonus at this château is the birds of prey show on the château grounds. (You'll like this Katie) We arrived in perfect time to start our visit with this show. This is where Janis' birthday surprise comes happens.  Two falconers showed us a hawk, kestrel, several owls, an eagle and finally the hunting skills of a falcon. While we threw away lots of out of focus photos, between the lot of us - Dave, Lynn, Clark, and Dale, we got some terrific shots of these birds in action. Enjoy!  (And can you find Janis' birthday surprise?)

Happy Birthday Janis

the kestrel Janis was holding
And the show finished with an eagle. Recognize this guy?

Home via some backroads. Sully sends us through the middle of a village with its usual narrow streets. Clark and Dave test out the grill for our dinner tonight, chicken breasts. Yumm!

No comments:

Post a Comment