Sharp turrets, silver tipped in the moonlight against an inky sky. Our vintage postcard depicting J. Hugo d’Alès’ illustration of Château d’Ô was a tempting romantic marvel.
A slight kink, a bend in one cardboard corner rendered the postcard delicate and somehow more precious. We placed it carefully within a plastic pocket.
We would not heavily research this unearthly building, but arrive unprepared and open to what we would find. We could learn its history later, for now to absorb the atmosphere was enough! Well one of us was thinking that, the other was just wondering where we would have lunch.
Annoyingly we accidentally left the ipad charging in the apartment so would have to rely on our well worn back-up paper map. There, within an intricate web of country roads we saw Château d’Ô just off the A88 near Mortrée in the Orne. How hard could it be to find?
Quite hard. Let us draw a painful veil over the next three hours. Suffice to say if a wrong turning could be taken we took it. We drove down a thousand identical sleepy lanes, banked by long grasses that sung to soft breezes and edged endless fields. The sun was bright, and a little judgemental.
Could we see any romantic pointy flippin’ turrens? We could not.
Then, as the afternoon sun gave up on us and slipped behind some distant trees, we saw something in the distance that we are pretty sure was not there the last time we drove down that exact road.
Ô there it is
We could not discuss it as we were no longer speaking but somehow an acknowledgement was made and we drove directly to Château d’Ô.
It was closed. We parked recklessly on a neat grass verge and peered pathetically through well painted iron gates that sat at an angle revealing a view completely unlike the one on our postcard.
A match was impossible. We had driven approximately 500 miles in an area about 10 miles square to see a Château that clearly didn’t care. Why should it? Dramas had taken place under it’s fairytale pointy bits that we couldn’t even dream of. And for now, know absolutely nothing about.
Around this time our postcard somehow ended up in small pieces all over the interior of the car.
No match today!