Friday, October 5, 2012

The "Real" Sleeping Beauty Castle

France Day 2 Part I: The "Real" Sleeping Beauty Castle

Even a day for fairy tales ...

... must start with coffee. Pastries don't hurt either. 
Mm. Breakfast on the way out of Tours.

Our destination on Day 2 was, as many of our itinerary decisions on this trip, a Clementine-driven one: Usse, aka the "real" Sleeping Beauty castle. It's not one of the most famous in the Loire. We blew past a handful of much better-known ones, likes Azay-le-Rideau, Langeais, and Villandry. But Sleeping Beauty lives there, see, so it was a shoo-in :-)

This is not it. This was glimpsed from the car not long after leaving Tours, and we had to detour to check it out. What we found was a small, sleepy, gorgeous village called Luynes, and this castle, which was private and closed. Imagine living here :-) (Ah, but I've got a better one for you to imagine living in next post :-)

A house in Luynes. Can you believe? Wistful sigh. Oh, and do you notice a certain ... princess?

We had brought with us, a surprise, this princess dress, and Clementine awoke to find it waiting for her. It was a bit of a hit. Feared we'd never get her out of it!

The drive to Usse was gorgeous. We made other breathless detours to take pictures, but had to bypass many too.

This is our first glimpse of the village of Usse:

And of the chateau behind it. Ooh. So fairy tale!


So why the whole Sleeping Beauty thing? The story goes that this is the castle that Charles Perrault, the famous French teller of fairy tales, had in mind when he wrote Sleeping Beauty. Is it true? I don't know. But the management at Usse makes the most of it. One whole tower (Above, far left in photo) is given over to tableaux from the story, and my oh my did a certain little Pie enjoy it.

Hark! Maleficent!

Happy Friday. XO!


Adrienne said...


Your posts make me wanderlust-y.

Could you perhaps make a post about how you pack for these trips? Could you focus on what you bring to wear, your interesting necessities that travelers might not think of, and how you plan for wee ones?

My husband and I are taking a trip to England and France within the next year (and we might take our five year old and infant). The process of fitting things in bags is daunting.

LL said...

I am really loving all of your chateaux posts. This is the first one you've posted that I haven't visited and it is definitely going on the list for next time. Also, LOVE that you got a princess dress for Clementine -- that is so perfect. I've been trying to think of good ways to make travel fun for young children and that is definitely going on the list. :)

Kate said...

So cool! :) What it must be like to live in a castle...

Laurence King said...

I love the princess dress!!! And the castle of course. I grew up with castles everywhere (I am French) and I still don't get tired of them:)


How wonderful of you to pack a princess dress for Darling Clementine! I hope she remembers this trip.

Do you wonder if the people that live in these ancient magical seeming places/towns realize how wonderful they seem to us and what some of us would give to live in them every day?


June G said...

Did Pie's dress come from Disneyland? What a sweetie. Great choice in attire, great pics overall!

Laini Taylor said...

Laurence, I guessed you must be French from your name! Where are you from?

And June, no I got the dress on Amazon. There were cute princesses dresses for sale at the French chateaux, too :-).

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