What fairy tales are made of

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….

4 thoughts on “What fairy tales are made of

  1. Would you conclude that it’s best to build a stone house rather than a wooden one? It would seem that most every house (or castle) that you’ve visited that is over a couple hundred years old is made of rock. Why did Charles VII have it destroyed? Was there no historic preservation committee back then?

    1. Stone does seem the best bet for the long haul – and the large scale. And even then you have to worry about fire. Re Charles, he seems to have been a bit sensitive. While travelling through Villandry, he felt that one of the castle guards insulted him, so he had all 350 of their soldiers killed and did what he could to wreck the place. It was dormant for about 100 years. Some people just can’t take a joke.

  2. Milked for all it is worth and then some. I love it when they include period costumes,

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