Tucked away amongst our old posts are two about a chateau at Cahaignes, in the Eure region of Normandy.
Back in 2013 we had hoped to match an old postcard of a grand chateau only to find it abandoned and in an appalling state. At that time there were no fences or gates and the doors hung open. Inside we found beautiful, if crumbling elegance. If you haven’t seen them, have a look at our first photos. This is the postcard:
Later, in a flea market a rather plain postcard revealed the only photograph we know of the chateau interior taken when it was a home. To our surprise the postcard was an exact match for a photo we had taken. We posted the match and a few more interior views.
A few weeks ago, driving north from Rouen, the temptation was too much. Reports online made it clear the chateau was now owned and very private, but it would be interesting to see if any renovations had started.
The chateau is unchanged except for a large propriété privée notice. There was also a lot of activity. Numerous cars and lots of people. Expecting to be turned away, we walked up and said hello.
It was a fashion shoot. Pretty models dressed in costumes that crossed very modern with historic tailoring posed against dilapidated walls.
The organisers explained the Parisian lady owner will hire the chateau out to photographers and film-makers for a few hundred euros per day. Friendly but business-like, they allowed us a quick look inside as long as we did not disturb the shoot. And a chance to walk around the outside. We are very grateful for their generosity.
The chambre with painted canvas panels of cavorting monkeys has apparently been stripped by vandals. We could not see the room, but prefer to remember as we first saw it, still full of colour.
At one end the rooms damaged by fire continue to crumble. This is the back of the chateau.