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 Chateau de Cande in the Loire Valley

 Chateau de Cande in the Loire Valley,France

Chateau de Cande, which has its own unique fairytale look, will not be on most Loire Valley visitor's 'must see' list but I think that, for British and American visitors especially, it should be! I say this because whereas the wonderful Chateaux de Loire will forever be linked with the French Royals and their colourful history, here we have an important link to to the history of the British Royal family and a scenario that was to change its course forever. For one thing Colin Firth would never have won his Oscar ('The king's speech') but more importantly Britain would have missed the influence of its 'Queen Mother' and 'Elizabeth II'. The event which was to change the country's history was that of the marriage of Edward, Prince of Wales to the American divorcee Wallis Simpson on June 3rd 1937.Well actually his abdication on the 10th of December the previous year did that - but it was to this end.

 

Wallis Simpson had come here to escape the harassment of the press who were making life very uncomfortable for her where she was staying with friends in Cannes.

Her friends were also friends of Fern Bedaux the wife of the owner of Chateau de Cande here in the Touraine. Her husband a rich American industrialist had bought the chateau 10 years earlier. Fern gave over her apartments here so as Wallis could get some peace. It seemed the obvious place to have the marriage.

As soon as you walk through the front portal you are met with the grandeur one would expect of any grand chateau of the Loire Valley but this is different in that it was neither built by, or used by, royalty. 'The man who would not be king' Edward , Prince of Wales would be the closest it would get to 'royal' patronage. 

Red sitting room of Chateau de Cande in the Loire Valley,France

The main reception room of the chateau is referred to as the 'Red Sitting Room' reflecting the red silk fabric adorning its walls.It has a ceiling more reminiscent of a Tudor castle than a French chateau.

dining room of chateau Cande in the Loire Valley in France

The dining room is quite dark due to its dark panelled and leather lined walls It was in this room the Windsors' buffet would have been laid out. Certainly large enough to cope with the sixteen people sent by the English court as representatives.

It has a rather splendid fireplace and ceiling.

Library of chateau Cande in the Loire Valley in France

The library of the chateau is delightful and it is here that the mayor of nearby Monts performed the civil part of the wedding to conform to the laws of the country. The religious ceremony was performed in the 'music room' of the chateau.

panelled ceiling in the library of chateau Cande in the Loire Valley in France

 

On one of the panels to the right of the fireplace is engraved with the words 'Ed was here' - only joking it is in fact the signatures of  Edward & Wallis.

books on display in the library of chateau Cande in the Loire Valley in France

At the opposite end of the room there is an American made 'Skinner' organ one of only twenty left in the world and one of only three in working order. nterestingly the organ, with its 1,878 pipes, was classified as 'Monument Historique' by the French government in 1993.

Organ in the library of chateau Cande in the Loire Valley in France

 

bedroom in chateau Cande in the Loire Valley in France

The bedrooms are as you'd expect but the bathrooms on show (two of the eight) are a surprise...

beautiful bathroom of chateau Cande in the Loire Valley in France

Off one of the bedrooms there is a charming spiral staircase leading to a roof terrace which is unfortunately out of bounds- would have loved to have seen that.

 

The dressing room has a display of outfits from major designers of the time plus there's a small selection from  Wallis' wardrobe. Her panther jewels from Cartier are on display, her painted luggage, elegant handbags, and some of the gowns made for her. 

dressing room of chateau Cande in the Loire Valley in France

 

Wallis Simpson's monogrammed handbag

It is interesting to see she had a little crown designed into her bags - perhaps in anticipation (wrongly) of becoming 'royal'

music room of chateau Cande in the Loire Valley in France

Last but not least we have the 'Music room' where the couple were married in a religious ceremony.

Wallis Simpson's dress in chateau Cande in the Loire Valley in France

A copy of the dress Wallis wore is on display beside a copy of the Cecile Beaton photograph marking the occasion - in which Wallis looks decidedly unhappy.

 

To visit the chateau is to step back in time and sample a little piece of its history.

It is also great value at € 6.50 but note - it is closed Monday and Tuesdays except

 during July and August

Grounds of chateau Cande

 

view of viaduct from Chateau Cande

The estate of the chateau covers an area of 250 hectares and  includes a marked path and lake. There are also vegetable gardens and an orchard, so you have all the elements for a good day out.

 

 

To get directions to Cande and see map, type in your post code or your starting point,  i.e.: 'Paris'

 

Open fromWednesday to Sunday and public holidays: 10:30 - 12:30 and 13:30 - 18:00

Bookings: no reservation recommended

Price: Full price 6,5 € - Reduced 5,5 € - free under 7 years

 

External links:

 

Chateau website                  www.domainecande.fr/

 

Chateau on wikipedia            en.wikipedia.org/

 

Good info on organ               www.aaimm.org/ 

 

Good W&S links here           www.royalty.nu

 

Blogroll:

 

A walk around Cande park     loirevalleyexperiences.blogspot.fr

 

Good post on the gardens     averygrandpressigny.blogspot.fr

 

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"Author: Jim Craig"