I was getting cabin fever from the overcast skies, wind and rain -- and the damn wood stove that needs my constant attention -- so decided to head out, despite the weather, on a bit of an adventure (and abandon the stove, or poêle à bois, as it's called.)

My destination was Valençay, a bit more than an hour northwest of me, and my first stop was for lunch at "La Promenade", a charming restaurant where I had an entrée (first dish) of a delicious potato and leek soup, and then the plat (the main dish), "aligot" (mashed potatoes with cream and cheese) and local sausages, plus local ("table") red wine, and a coffee afterwards.  Parfait! ("Perfect"-- not as in dessert!) All totaled, about €14 (about $17).  Restaurant food in France is pretty expensive; lunch typically €10-15 (two to four courses --  your choices of entrée, plat, fromage, dessert, and always bread and water -- but without drinks); dinner easily upwards of €30.

Since I've started house-hunting (to rent, not buy), I took a look at this: what do you think?  Too much?  Tower is undergoing some work, but the "donjon" is spacious, and the grounds are nice...

The "galleries" -- the living space.  I'm told the servants' quarters are between the two main floors. 
Hmmm...would have to have VERY short hired help!
Comes furnished, too.

The ...what was the color?  Oh, yeah...the blue room.

The game room.  I'd take out a table or two and put in a TV.

The office.  Yeah, right.

* The Princess's bedroom.
The bathroom (well, the only one I saw) needs updating, though...

There's no elevator, but really, the living quarters are only two stories, and there are some nice architectural touches...

And I absolutely fell in love with the well-equipped kitchen, even though it's downstairs (and down, and down) and kinda far from the dining room...

This was, in fact, my destination: the Chateau de Valencay , initially the country home, and then in his later years the home of choice, of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand Périgord, Prince of Bénévento, advisor to Napoléon, a brilliant diplomat, and lover/husband to...well, that part is VERY complicated!  LOL   Most of us probably just know him by "Talleyrand".  If you go back up to the * Princess's bedroom, here's the story in brief:  She was Talleyrand's longtime lover, then his wife -- but never accepted in that role by society, and they split.  Her two daughters by "previous relationship(s)" were thus Talleyrand's nieces, by marriage.  The one known as the Duchess of Dino was married to (and then estranged from) one of her mother's former lovers.  And then she -- the daughter -- became Talleyrand's "companion" until he died. Not unexpectedly, he died before she did.  After all, he was 40 years older. 

And did you know about his chef, Antonin Careme?

Sigh.  A shame this place isn't available ...

Town is cute, too.  (Talleyrand was once  its mayor.)

Guess I'll just have to be content with gazing upon it from afar!

A la prochaine --


  1. Wonderful tour! Looks like you are having a blast. I stopped reading your blog so I would calm the travel bug but I think I will resume now and plan a spring trip. Happy new year!

  2. You know, it's the servants who have to worry about the distance between kitchen and dining room! Really a quaint little chateau - but I suppose the rent is high.... Happy New Year! Kj


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