"Chaumont-sur-Loire: Église de St-Nicolas" Chaumont-sur-Loire Things to Do Tip by von.otter
Chaumont-sur-Loire Things to Do: 23 reviews and 101 photos
“Je veux ce château” (“I want this castle!”)
— Marie-Charlotte Say (1857-1943) her exclamation upon seeing Château de Chaumont
And she got it!
One day in 1875, the 16-year-old Marie-Charlotte Say passed the château shortly before her marriage to Prince Henri Amédée de Broglie, an aristocrat descended from scholars and military officers. A few days later, a check for two million francs sealed the deal. At the castle, this fabulously rich sugar beet heiress entertained Queen Isabella II of Spain; Edward, Prince of Wales; the Shah of Iran; Sarah Bernhardt; François Poulenc and the Maharajah of Kapurthala, who gave her an elephant. The beast, not very wild, quickly became a favorite attraction in the Loire Valley, adding to Marie’s notoriety in the area.
Marie organized water spectacles on the Loire, to be visible from the castle. The Paris Opera Ballet and the Comedie Francaise entertained the guests who attended Marie’s never-ending party. In 1905 her financial advisors insisted she economize; she agreed to give up foie gras at teatime but not to give up the elephant, whose feeding and maintenance were a major expense.
The princess was not well liked by the locals because she had the village church and cemetery moved from her property; the noise of funerals disturbed to her beauty rest she claimed. She replaced them with the pet cemetery, whose tombs were desecrated by disgruntled villagers. The houses and the church were rebuilt at the base of the hill. Eglise de St-Nicolas, seen in these photos, is the replacement church Marie built.
In 1930 Marie married a real royal and a real ne’er-do-well, Luis Fernando de Orléans y de Borbón, Infante de España, 31 years her junior; she was 73 when they wed. Ten years later the Infante had blazed through 70 million francs of his wife’s fortune. He served as one of the models for Marcel Proust’s Baron de Charlus
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