Oooh la la. Finding the entrance to this overblown place is quite a feat. And then 'The house is closed' said the chatelaine, 'and the fountains are only turned on for two hours on weekends...that'll be 12 euros for the gardens'. With which she led me through a dark chilly tea-room area and turned me loose - no guide, no audio guide, nada.
The gardens, laid out with that formal symmetry so beloved of French horticulturalists, aspire to Versailles-style magnificence. Alas, Versailles they are not....by a long shot. They're bare and bleak (even in June there was something dismal about them), the fountains are empty, the water in the long pond is brown and brackish, every post and chain is rusty, everything wooden pleads for paint, the 'Ermitage' is a tatty gazebo full of torn curtains and dirty furniture. Wild swans challenge you to encroach on their turf. A lone fish swims through a miasma of gunk. The whole thing, even on a sunny day, feels hostile to the point of creepy.
Do not, under any circumstances, bring children. There is no play area, no snack area, no picnic benches, no cold drinks, no shade, and the only toilets are cunningly concealed miles back at the chateau. Children - unless horticulture prodigies, and maybe even then - will be bored absolutely crosseyed. Picking my way amidst the heaps of rubble, open drains and coiled hoses, I was bored crosseyed myself.
No wonder there was hardly anyone else about. This pompous, pretentious chateau hasn't a clue about public relations, or presentation, or value for money, or entertaining its visitors, or doing anything other than wasting people's time and money. Avoid. At all costs. Awful place.
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