Thursday, 5 December 2013

Christmas Decorations at Chenonceau

The servants' dining hall.
Chenonceau has outdone itself this year with the abundance of its Christmas decorations in every room. I was alerted to this fact in late November when Madame Ré, elderly and redoubtable owner of the chateau of Montrésor, took me aside and asked me if I thought she ought to put up a Christmas tree. She had heard that Chenonceau had put one in every room this year.

Sure enough, in the period between my visits with clients Chenonceau had indeed put one or even two decorated trees and even more decorative displays in virtually every room. The floral arrangements at the chateau are always a treat, and this year for the festive season they've gone all out for white and sparkly.

Staff putting up this year's main Christmas tree, in the Long Gallery on 28 November.
My apologies for the quality of the photos above. It does not do the display in the servants' dining hall justice in particular. One of my rules for guiding is that if you are taking good photos while you have clients with you, you are not focusing on the clients properly, so these are just quick snapshots.

Last year Chenonceau hung large balls of white orchids from the ceiling all down the length of the gallery. I took a photo, but you've never seen it as it is on my phone and I am unable to download it. If you want to see what it looked like, Stuart has posted his photo on Amboise Daily Photo.
A la cuisine hier: Pumpkin Soup, made from the day before's leftovers of pumpkin purée and vegetable stock.

Hasselback potatoes, thanks to Jean reminding me of the recipe, with Toulouse sausages.

Rhubarb and custard, with rhubarb from Gaynor's garden that I froze in the summer.
Chapel News: Yesterday I attended a meeting with other members of the SAP and an architect. Again, an overall positive agreement at the end of the meeting. The architect impressed us with his understanding of the building's problems and clarified a few technical details of the period and how they are now causing problems. This is mainly to do with the construction of the gables and roof, which is causing the building to continue to lean and twist even though metal ties were put in place years ago. He is going to produce a report, ranking the repairs necessary in terms of  urgency and try and give us some ideas of the cost of each stage. During the course of the meeting it emerged that a grant of €1000 from the Communauté de Communes will not be forthcoming. I suspect this is partly our own fault, as the SAP was given a grant for another purpose, but we asked if we could use it instead on the chapel. Very often grant giving bodies are simply unable to switch funds like this, no matter how practical an arrangement it seems.
Car News: I took the Scenic for its CT (roadworthy test) yesterday and it failed. Cars have to be independently tested every 2 years here, and older cars almost always fail the first visit. The Scenic's downfall was a surprise to me. The silencer part of the exhaust has a hole in it, which I hadn't noticed. It meant the mechanic couldn't test the car's emissions. I'll have to make an appointment with our regular mechanic to get the exhaust fixed and then go back to the CT garage for what is known as a contre visite, which does not cost anything. I have 2 months to get it sorted out.


Stuart said...

I've not been to Chenonceau at Christmas time so I'm glad to see these photos. Thanks!

Ken Broadhurst said...

When my car had to have a contre visite last December, I was charged 4€ for the privilege of taking it in the second time, on top of the first-time charge.

Susan said...

Ken: I didn't think charging for the second visit was allowed!

GaynorB said...

We went to Chenonceau at Easter and the display was fantastic. One day I'll get there at Christmas!

I like the idea of a two month window to make the repairs necessary to pass the test. This is better than you get in the UK.

In our cuisine hier it has been toast with some of the rhubarb and strawberry jam I made in the summer. We know how to live it up!!!

Susan said...

Gaynor: The difference at Easter would be that the chateau would have been fairly busy. In late November we had virtually every room to ourselves.

We didn't own a car in the UK, so I wasn't sure what the rules were in comparison.

Rhubarb and custard, rhubarb and strawberry jam on toast -- both fine comfort foods.

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