Friday, May 31, 2013

Châteaux et Colza

Neither of the big châteaux we drove by last week on the way to Paris were open to visitors, so we just peeked through the gates. The first, at Montmort-Lucy, was a fortress in the 11th century; the turreted 16th-century castle was built on and within those walls. It's a private residence now, and only does group tours by reservation. We got in the car and continued our drive north through the bright-yellow colza fields.

The second château is at Montmirail, and the name sounded familiar to me. I thought it was the name of the castle in a French movie I'd seen at the Portland International Film Festival a few years back, but that was "La Princesse de Montpensier." Now that I'm looking into it, Montmirail was the title granted to the knight Godefroy at the beginning of the wonderful French movie "Les Visiteurs," although the castle in that movie isn't this one. They open this place up for special events throughout the year, including a fancy-dress ball, but not that morning. No handsome Frenchman came riding down the grand avenue for me. I'll keep looking.

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