While visiting these châteaux you just have to wonder–what’s it like at night when you are NOT ALLOWED to visit? What does it feel like to, say, slink around in the shadows, watching the royals sleep?
Okay, that’s creepy. But you kind of want to know, don’t you? When nobody else is around but ghosts, when all is dark and silent, what mood stirs beneath the moonlight? An imaginary nocturnal visit to Chambord and Chenonceau, if you will . . .
Louis XIV Ceremonial Bedroom
(I didn’t scale down the resolution – click away for the full experience)
The dude who (occasionally) slept here
Louis XIV – Charles le Brun (1661)
The Queen’s Bedroom
Marie Thérèse of Austria, wife of Louis XIV – attributed to Charles Beaubrun (1666)
Louise of Lorraine’s bedroom
The Lady in White (aka Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont, one time Queen of France) designed this room for her retirement from Court. In grief after the assassination of her husband Henri III, she bedded down here for the remainder of her years. The matte black walls and white motifs are symbols of mourning. Take a closer look at the chandelier-esque stencil on the lower lefthand wall. It’s actually a cornucopia of eternal tears. Images of death abound: crosses surrounded by spades and picks, widow’s cordons, crowns of thorns, and the Greek letter lambda to represent Louise’s and Henri’s initials intertwined.
I’m not sure what it says about me that I thought this room was amazing when I visited Chenonceau. I’m sure the pious Louise wouldn’t approve, but it looks positively witchy to me.
Regarding photography in this post: