Thursday, 11 November 2021

The World War I Hospital at the Chateau of Chenonceau

If you own a large chateau on an estate with multiple service buildings you never throw anything out. So when the centenary of the beginning of the First World War came around in 2014, the Chateau of Chenonceau was able to drag out of storage an entire military hospital. The chateau owners, the Menier family, had converted the chateau into a hospital right at the beginning of the war, and they funded and ran it until the end of 1918. They did the same at their chocolate factory at Noisiel. Then it was all packed up and put into storage.

Reconstructed hospital at the Chateau of Chenonceau. Indre et Loire. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The original hospital wards were in the galleries across the river, but the modern recreation has been installed in the stable block. All of the furniture and other objects are original. There were 120 beds, one of the first x-ray machines and a modern operating theatre. Most of the 2254 patients were very severely wounded.


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potty said...

It looks so funny with all those flowers, how many years now is it since a bunch of grapes and flowers was the standard visitor gift?

chm said...

How nice of the Menier to recreate an hospital ward with the blue, white and red Chenonceau’s signature flower arragements!

Carolyn said...

Chenonceau has the most astonishing flower arrangements. I know you have commented on them before and made the point that their winter floral arrangements make Chenonceau a worthwhile destination even in the winter.

Susan said...

Potty: you can see why people would have given flowers and grapes though. Quite a stark environment otherwise.

chm: the archival photographs are very interesting.

Carolyn: yes, it's odd that Chenonceau's flower arrangements seem so little known. They are truly outstanding, and as you say, make any visit any time of year worthwhile.

bonnie groves poppe said...

I have been to Chenonceau several times, and knew about the hospital, but of course who knew that the stuff was all in storage. Wonderful idea to re-create it. And yes about the flower arrangements, always stunning. I heard or read once that the flowers were all grown on site, but don't know if that's true.
bonnie in provence.

Susan said...

bonnie groves poppe: the flowers are grown on site as far as possible, but the florists do buy in from Rungis as well.

bonnie groves poppe said...

Not at all surprising, considering the volume and the seasons.

Susan said...

bonnie groves poppe: yes, they tend to buy big exotic orchids in the winter, when the garden isn't producing very much.

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