I just got back from the most glorious trip to France (actually sitting in the airport on our last leg now!) for 10 days and I can’t tell you how many miracles happened to make it such a particularly memorable experience. Well, miracles combined with a lot of poor customer service, but that’s par for the course, I suppose. I hope you were able to follow along on Instagram and Instastories because I did a lot of documenting. A lot. But don’t worry, I’ll be more thorough here on the blog. Lucky you 😉
I wanted to start with one of the most magical experiences of the trip: Chateau Chaumont. We went to France to attend the wedding of Paul’s brother who lives in Denmark and got married to a lovely lady from the Loire region. I had done a ton of research on which chateaux to visit as we’d have a car for the first portion of our trip thanks to our friends at AutoEurope so we planned a road trip for the days prior to the wedding staring out in Brittany and Normandy and then working our way down. I knew we’d have a bit of sight-seeing time around the wedding celebrations, but, like all travel schedules, time is way more limited than you think it’s going to be–gah! The day of the wedding was one such example. We had about two hours to go do something before we had to get ready for the town hall wedding in Onzain. Instead of the chateaux I had researched, I looked on the map and noticed one just across the river–because that’s what happens when you are in chateau-land–chateaux just appear out of nowhere. We popped over and what do you know? There’s a Flower Power Festival. You can imagine my excitement.
First of all, we were greeted with some of the most stunning autumn decorations I’ve ever seen. By using traditional autumnal elements in new ways they challenged the way I think of using every day objects. I mean, the use of pumpkins! I knew we were in for a treat when I was greeted with these squashes and chestnuts strung through the gates. I’d love to try this myself. Now all I need are some gates… I took a ton of photos of these topiary bamboo structures so you can note them. I’m also planning on trying it out myself as a DIY for next year.
Dahlias are one of my favorite fall flowers. I loved the idea of setting them in small ponds. Then you walk to one of the first buildings where you’re greeted by dozens of white pumpkins dropped around a negative spaced circle along with giant white pumpkins in the reflective pond. Because it’s simple and genius and it blew my mind.
Again, all I need is this building a reflective pool and I’M SET! My needs are basic!
Flower Power Festival
Onto the Flower Power Festival. The festival is an annual international competition that brings 25 celebrated designers from all over the world to create a space within their gardens. Because we were on a limited time schedule I had to race through each of the 25 “rooms” and wish I could have spent all day. Here were some of my favorite spots.
DE L’AUTRE CÔTÉ DU MIROIR
This mirrored garden was such a beautiful discovery. It was designed by Nicolas Stadler, designer, Alice Stadler, interior architect, and Thierry Giraut, landscaper. Sadly, I was on about 7% battery at this point so all boomerangs had to be taken STAT! Read more about it here.
Press play to see the my discovery:
Outdoor flower studio by Anne Marlangeon and Michel Lopez. Read more about it here.
LE BOUQUET D’APRÈS
Read more about After the Flood here.
Summer is Coming
A reinterpretation on Game of Thrones by Thibault Adam, landscape designer and gardener, Yoann Molard-Auclair, gardener and landscape designer, and Rémi Boutin, set designer and cabinetmaker. Read more about it here.
Read more about it here.
Now, heading into the actual chateau itself, which contained some phenomenal works. I love that the keepers of the Chateau are not afraid to play with it. Oftentimes museums are left as is with no modern interpretation, which is a big fat Snooze Alert in my book.
“LES PIERRES ET LE PRINTEMPS”
And for my favorite part of the experience, Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger’s Les Pierres et Le Printemps in the chapel of the chateau.
They used various parts of plants, leaves, grass, and dried flowers collected from the grounds to create this whimsical hanging garden.
Read more about their work here.
“LE JARDIN PRÉSERVÉ”
Now, onto the stables. The stables presented a number of artworks including the work of Rebecca Louise-Law Le Jardin Preserve. Rebecca suspended thousands of fresh flowers from the ceiling. By the time we saw it in October they were very much dried, but still beautiful.
They started out like this:
LE NID DES MURMURES
Last but not least, artist Stéphane Guiran came up with a remarkable installation composed of quartz flowers, designed for the Chaumont-sur-Loire stables’ indoor riding arena; a gentle and infinitely poetic accumulation that resonates with the arena’s architecture. Read more about it here.
There were dozens more all around the chateau grounds and in the festival itself. I encourage you to save your pennies and make a trip one day. Apparently, they do an international festival every year along with more permanent exhibitions so there’s always something new to see. Take a look at their informative website to read more about the exhibitions and to see things that I didn’t cover here. It really was out of this world!
Thank you to AutoEurope for making our #EuropeanRoadTrip possible!