I remember being in France in September in the late 80-ties and 90-ties, visiting the Tour the Vetz and the Château de Pierrefonds in the Champagne-Ardennes region on one of these 'Journées'. It was fun and free! I think I still have some photos of those two visits. Paper copies, of course ... no digital cameras in those these ... I'll try and find them for you.
In the meantime here's a scan of a 1914 postcard of a castle that used to be the pride of our village before it was burned down by the invading German army in 1914. What a shame!
The photo was published in our local newspaper a few days ago. I didn't recognize it as one of the two castles/manors that are still standing. So I showed it to my mother, who immediately knew where it used to be ... although she never saw it in real life, because it was torn down after the fire. By the time my mother was born (1928) the grounds on which it used to stand, had been divided into small building parcels. Today it's a nice quiet street featuring some stately villa's and ... a 1970-ties apartment building.
**** Update: I posted the above while preparing Sunday lunch. In the meantime I've been over to my mother's and guess what she has come up with since I've shown her the newspaper clipping yesterday:
An 'eye-witness' photo of the damaged castle not long after the fire...
Sorry for the poor quality. Even my brand-new scanner isn't up to the challenge of bringing an almost 100 year-old picture back to life.
And a photo of the chateau in its full glory ...