The château of Ussé doesn’t just look like Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
It is supposedly the place where 17th century writer Charles Perrault was visiting when he was inspired to write the story of Sleeping Beauty. And they take full advantage of the legend.
First of all, the château itself, a confection of 15th, 16th and 17th century buildings on an early 11th century foundation, is quite impressive. The interior was furnished to offer hospitality to many French kings, and various recreations are in place, complete with costumes.
As for the fairy tale bit, they have certainly milked that for all they can. There is a separate entrance to Sleeping Beauty’s tower, where dioramas make magic for little girls as the story unfolds.
We also visited the château of Azay-le-Rideu, another gem of the Renaissance. It was rebuilt in the 16th century after Charles VII had it destroyed, and its setting is very lovely. Unfortunately, it is mostly behind scaffolding for a few years, so we missed the full effect. But what we could see was lovely.
We’ve decided two castles a day is our limit….