Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday April 17 - Sleeping Beauty Castle - Ussé

Château d'Ussé - the Sleeping Beauty castle
Ussé is the private residence of the Duke of Blacas, who still lives there. Historically, it began as a fortress which was modified over the years to become a comfortable pleasure palace. It has had many owners over its history through sales, bankruptcies and changes in lineage. But it has been in the Blacas family since 1883. Opening the palace to visitors has allowed the Duke to renovate the residence and grounds much to our benefit.
Lower gardens overlook the Indres river. 

Ussé is known as the Sleeping Beauty Castle because Charles Perrault was inspired by the magical feeling of this castle to write his famous fairy tale.
Of course, the first thing Christie and Alex were inspired to do was to climb the Sleeping Beauty tower to wave from the top.
Christie and Alex at top of Sleeping Beauty Tower
Christie and Alex in middle tower window

Rooms in the tower were decorated with life-size dioramas featuring mannequins in scenes from the fairy tale.
Scene from Sleeping Beauty 

Scene from Sleeping Beauty diorama

Scene from Sleeping Beauty 

This castle was fun to visit because the rooms were furnished not only with family furniture of historical importance but also with mannequins dressed in costumes from the late 19th century. I wonder where they got the costumes. Is it possible these are from wardrobes in the château? Wouldn't that be cool.
Welcome to Ussé - Entrance Hall

17th century Florentine cabinet with inlay and precious stones. Note that all rooms have tapestries on the walls - not only decorative, but to keep out the drafts. This castle must have been very drafty because they're on all the walls!

The Vauban salon

The grand gallery - with Flemish tapistries and window-doors to the courtyard

The dining room

Murano glass chandelier in dining room

The King's chamber - in the days of kings of France, wealthy homes had a room decorated and prepared should the king of France ever want to visit. Not sure what they did with the room while waiting for the king to choose to visit.

The King's chamber

The grand staircase - innovative style - straight steps take much more room than the medieval circular staircases.

I loved this boy's outfit. 

The grounds were equally beautiful with stables and a large chapel up the hill from the château. The chapel was commissioned to Saint Anne in 1521 and built starting 1524. It was both the family chapel and local parish up to the Revolution when like everywhere, churches were stripped of their religion. In 1809, the church was re-opened as before. Being too small to hold the local congregation, a new church was built in the village and the chapel becomes once more just a family chapel. Still in use for family functions such as baptisms and funerals.
St. Anne Chapel

St. Anne chapel

Carving from entrance to St. Anne chapel

altar and stained glass from St. Anne chapel. very light and airy inside

Two large Cedars of Lebanon were planted near the chapel. These were planted around 1800 so are mere youngsters in this family of trees.
200 year old Cedar of Lebanon

No comments:

Post a Comment