After the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to Caen, we disembarked first and headed to Chateau de Challain, the home for the first #teamamour shoot in the Loire Valley. This was the start of our visit to the magnificent castle and today I want to take you behind the huge turret walls, and share in my experience of an all access pass being a resident in a fairytale chateau.
The magic of Chateau Challain really does start as you approach the town of Challain-la-Potherie and you see your first glimpse of the gothic towers, peaking above the French rooftops and varied treeline. In true fairytale style, you cross the threshold of the Challain estate as you enter through the imposing guard building.
French Wedding Style – Photography © French Wedding Style
Visiting many a Chateau, there has seldom been one that has taken my breath away and left me with a buzz of excitement as I felt when arriving at Challain. After climbing the movie inspired entrance stairs, you are greeted with an eclectic decorating style including life-size stuffed lions, gothic dark wood furniture, vintage hairs and pictures and artwork adorn the walls.
Ascending the marble white spiral staircase illuminated by chandeliers, we were shown to the tower suite which would be our lodgings for the stay. The suite is every bit as grand as it sounds with a marble bathroom, complete with fireplace, 8ft high window onto the estate and the beautiful round tower bedroom.
The tower bedroom features a kingsize four-poster bed, fabric walls, vintage furniture and two giant windows that flood the room with light. However, I am taken with the anti-room just to the side of the bedroom, where I sit at an ornate sweetheart table in front of another 8ft window, that looks out over the back of the estate at the private lake and main wedding ceremony location.
I sat writing this the day before the #teamamour styled shoot that I organised, but as luck would have it, there is a wedding at the chateau today. My window has a birdseye view over the back lawn where the hive of pre-wedding activity is happening. Around a gold circular gazebo, wedding workers are busying themselves creating oversize aisle displays, setting up silver ceremony chairs and checking the manicured courtyard display ahead of the wedding parties arrival.
I decide to vacate my observation window for a stipend and head on a little exploration of the chateau. I can’t tell you the names of the rooms that I visited as I thoroughly enjoyed being removed from technology and note writing and just explored. At 33 I felt like a child exploring a fairytale castle and as a creative person my mind was absorbing the wealth of stimulus that the Chateau offers.
Owners Cynthia and her husband, have spared no expense in money or time in creating a wedding or accommodation experience that is like stepping into Narnia in today’s modern world.
If you are curious to find out more about Cynthia’s part in the Chateau de Challain story, watch below.
But I will leave you with a visual tour of my time wandering around the Chateau:
A true labour of love, parts of the Chateau are still under renovation, with huge corridors as blank canvas, waiting for Cynthia to work her interior design magic.