The Château Chaumont
When you learn that the Château Chaumont sur la Loire was built by a fourteen-year-old heiress, it suddenly makes sense. There is something of the sugar-spun Subtlety of the Medieval Banquet about its many white towers and purple pinnacles, its extravagant drawbridge and charming porcupine sigil. Its rooms, though numerous, are comfortable in scale. It sits on a hill above the Loire, and its central courtyard overlooks the river. Its gardens are extensive, if unfortunately modernized.
I had the great pleasure of visiting the château when a summer storm was approaching from across the river. Up in the towers you could see the dark blue clouds come closer, and by the time I made my way out of the castle and back down the hill the clouds were overhead. The rain had yet to begin, but the wind had picked up, the sky was dark, and there was a faintly electric air to the place. The storm reflected the colour of the pointed towers and made the surrounding gardens all the more vivid in colour. I ran the remainder of the way into the valley and made it to cover just as the storm began.