Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Langeais revisited

What I like about Langeais castle is the fact that you go all the way up to the ‘Chemin de ronde’ by climbing the winding stairs in one tower, to come down by a staircase in another tower. This means that, if you follow the ‘sense de la visite’ (the recommended tour) you never find yourself face-to-face with other people going in the opposite direction; which is a good thing as the stairs are rather narrow and worn in some places.

In between are several halls and rooms with nice furniture and gigantic tapestries. I don’t know about the authenticity of the furniture though, as someone once told me that most of the castles were plundered and ravaged during and shortly after the French revolution in 1789.

One of the rare rooms where the shutters aren't closed.

Compared to the other châteaux where the shutters, and in summer even the windows, are wide open, the rooms at Langeais are often darkened. During the course of the visit I recognized several items or decors, which confirmed that I had visited the castle before. In one of the halls there is a ‘mise-en-scène’ with dummies representing the young king Charles VIII and his wife-to-be, Anne of Brittany. An ‘off-screen’ voice explains how the marriage between the two young people was arranged.

In a side room there is a very nice china cabinet with artful and unique pieces of porcelain, while another room is completely dedicated to religious medieval art. On the top floor the walls are covered from ceiling to floor in tapestries depicting the great legendary kings, such as King Arthur.

A bird's view of the village of Langeais.

The best part, however, is the ‘Chemin de ronde’. This circular gallery is located on top of the ramparts. It offers a splendid view of the surrounding countryside and the nearby suspended bridge and a bird’s view of the village. In the old days the ‘Chemin’ was used by the guards to overview the area and defend the castle in case of an attack.

'Chemin de ronde' or 'Rampart Walk'.

Today the glassless windows are covered with chicken wire to stop people from climbing or falling out. It therefore isn’t always easy to make a good photo from up there as you have to squeeze the lens of your camera through one of the tiny holes, which doesn’t always allow you to point it in the most attractive angle. However, I think I  didn't do too bad with this photo of the suspended bridge.

By the time we had finished the tour it was almost noon. On our way to the car park we stopped at the local bakery to buy a baguette for our evening picnic. But first I had a special lunch in store in the pretty little village of Crissay-sur-Manse.



Ken Broadhurst said...

Walt and I drove through Langeais last night on our way back to Saint-Aignan from Restigné, where we had apéritifs with the blogger Amy and her family. Also present were former blogger Bill Braine from the Hudson River Valley in New York and his family. Good times.

ladybird said...

Ken, Was this your first meeting with Amy and her family? As you may recall, we went to see her last year. It didn't seem to bother her that we came unannounced as she's such a nice person. I bet you had a great time!

Ken Broadhurst said...

It was our first time, and we had a great visit. Amy said she was a little unsettled when she found out the mairie would give you her address so willingly!