Chateau Chaumont and Festival Gardens

Venturing eastwards to Chaumont to explore the chateau we purchased the additional ticket to the Festival Gardens. What a treat. Acres of beautiful gardens set out in a huge parkland which is the Goualoup Park and each designed by a different artist and all full of colour, butterflies and bees. 


In another area, which I can only describe as an RHS flower show without the crowds or commerce, multiplied substantially in size, more gardens with lots of surprises (and a few more families!!) 

We were awed and delighted as well as surprised by the ingenious ways the separate gardens had been set out and displayed. The use of mirrors in some intriguing.

 Having thought that it would be a visit of a couple of hours we spent hours just wandering the gardens before moving on to the chateau!  

Situated above the Loire the position of the chateau lends itself to beautiful views of the surrounding countryside and river. 

 The chateau itself was rather confusing from the outset! Usually when visiting an attraction you end up on the way out in the gift shop, here you start off in the gift shop!  

We discovered as we made our way around that the main focus of the visit is intended to be the various modern artworks on display, often in strange ways! One thing we found enjoyable was being able to view the rooms and contents without the restriction of ropes and barriers as is so usual. It almost felt naughty walking round the furniture!  

Although signposted we kind of kept going off at a tangent up and down stairs and resulting in a feeling that we had missed bits as we ended up elsewhere. One lot of stairs led up upward to what I assumed to have been servants quarters at one time but now held ‘junk’ which was on display, old bits of armour, chairs awaiting repair, old trunks of clothes, shelves of china and pots and pans, each room with a weird stained glass piece of art hung randomly. Guess i’m not a fan of modern art!

Downstairs in the kitchen there was a huge ‘artwork’ of logs stood on end each with an old church bell attached filling the floor space. The kitchen itself had been stripped other than a huge aga along the length of the wall. Small rooms off the main area were obviously cold store rooms and interesting in themselves but no indication as to what they were, such a wasted opportunity I felt.

After exiting the chateau the same way we entered we found ourselves in the stables. Yet more artwork on display but beautifully kept (or restored) stables show how revered the horses living there must have been, even with their own kitchen. The tack room would be the envy of any equestrian (Liz Dobson!).

Whilst it was a nice chateau, it’s piece de resistance is definitely the gardens.

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