Google Château de Marqueyssac and you’ll find countless photos of swirly box hedges and topiaries set high above the Dordogne River. The gardens and their setting are stunning. Upon discovering them online, I immediately knew that I had to see them in real life.
I imagined our visit to be everything it was not. I had this romanticized idea that we’d be the only visitors, giving us the place to ourselves to leisurely wander. It would be early in the day, before the sun rose too high in the sky and baked everything to within an inch of its life and created harsh shadows. There would be a light breeze and (most importantly, just ask James) I wouldn’t be hangry.
But alas, life doesn’t always happen as we expect it to does it? So you give yourself a pep talk (inner me: “suck it up, princess”) and make the best of the situation. Which is exactly what we did. And what I found surprising was that it wasn’t the beautifully manicured gardens that impressed me most; instead I fell in love with the château itself.
In my research, I learned that the 17th century château was built for Bertrand Vernet de Marqueyssac, Counselor to Louis XIV, and served as an aristocratic holiday resort.
The lauze – or stone tile – roof, typical of the area, weighs more than 500 tons.
The pretty mauve colour of the shutters was reportedly chosen as a nod to the cyclamen of Naples by later owner, Julien de Cervel, who had an appreciation for all things Italian. Incidentally, Monsieur Cervel was responsible for planting the famous Marqueyssac gardens.
The château we see today replaced the original building which was destroyed in a fire, leaving behind only the staircase to survive.
Every window and door offers a stunning vista of the surrounding Dordogne Valley.
I mentioned that it was hot and I was hangry. So obviously I insisted on ice cream.
It was supposed to be lavender flavour, but tasted more like the smell of lilac. Still tasty.
James noticed misters spraying cool water.
Which, obviously, I had to stand under. Pure bliss.
I’ll be back with another post soon, this time focusing on the famed gardens. Until then..