It is not one of the most famous or the most visited –in fact, we do not include it among our essential Loire castles– , but there is something that makes Montpoupon castle special . The fact that? Precisely that: the possibility of visiting it with peace of mind, almost as if you were walking around your house. One that you didn’t know your family had –although anyone gets a castle like this!– and that, when you find out, you want to know in depth, without leaving a room to step on, a piece of furniture to browse or a dress to look at.

A little history of the Château de Montpoupon

In almost any other place in the world, a family living in the same property for more than 150 years would be something remarkable. In the Loire Valley and speaking of castles it is not a novelty. Quite a few castles in the area can “look over their shoulder” – is it over the tower? – at Montpoupon, with families that have lived in them for centuries. Although the data did not stop calling our attention.

But was the Château de Montpoupon built in the mid-19th century? No. Its origin is medieval, specifically from the 13th century , at the time of Emperor Charlemagne. Do not look for the feudal castle, the Hundred Years War almost completely destroyed that construction and only one tower remains.The name “Montpoupon” derives from the Germanic clan that chose the promontory on which the castle now stands as their place of residence: the Poppo clan . The promontory became Mount Poppo, Mons Poppo in French, and the evolution of the language did the rest.

Visiting the castle of Montpoupon

Just because it’s a less famous castle doesn’t mean it’s small. The Château de Montpoupon has three floors – the last one opened to the public a few years ago –, a good number of outbuildings and is surrounded by a huge forest that is part of the property. The recommended duration of the visit to the castle is two hours… Take your time.

We have to confess that we saw the forest from afar because the sun hit hard on the path that had to be followed to reach it and because it was not necessary to go into a forest to find tranquility. But we do not leave a single room of the main building or the surrounding buildings to visit.

The castle frozen in time

As I said before, the amount of objects between furniture, clothing, souvenirs… that are in the rooms and halls of the castle makes it impossible to talk about all of them, and we don’t want to write a book on Montopoupon either. Upon entering, we had the feeling that it was an inhabited place . Well, not exactly inhabited in the present. It seemed that one day, a few decades ago, their owners had decided to go out for a walk and had not returned . Everything was as it was supposed to be.Tapestries –don’t miss the ones on the staircase–, lamps –Dutch and Bohemian glass–, sideboards, chests, beds… competed for our attention from one room to the next. Not to mention the chimneys and coats of arms . If you are thinking that the only thing worthwhile about the castle is what it has inside… no! The chestnut-beamed ceilings from the 16th century also left us speechless.

The castle kitchen

If it gave us the impression that the owners of the castle had gone out on an errand and had not returned for decades, with the kitchen we know exactly what year the cook left, Marie-Louise Barry : 1977. Until then, the oven , the hotplate, the flour cabinet… were used every day to prepare the food for the Motte Saint Pierre family.

More than 150 copper objects make the kitchen also a real museum, with other curiosities such as a sorbet maker or a coffee roaster from the beginning of the 20th century.

The Musée du Veneur , the hunting museum of the Château de Montpoupon

Go ahead, we are not defenders of hunting, but if there is something that stands out above other things in Montpoupon castle, it is its hunting museum . Would you visit a museum of something you don’t like? We do. Although the fact itself is uncomfortable for us, the paraphernalia that surrounds it, the drawings, the historical objects… we have to admit that they are very interesting.

The stables, which once housed 25 horses, are now exhibition halls where you can find old horse carriages in the family colours; saddles –we had no idea that there were so many “ways” to ride a horse–; hunting uniforms each with its characteristic buttons; trumpets –the only means of communication in the hunts, neither mobile nor walkie-talkie–; Hermès scarves ; watercolors… And the old dovecote, for 700 pigeons, is occupied by drawings of horses.But there are not only traditional museum-style objects in the 25 rooms of the Musée du Veneur , but also recreations of entire spaces : a stall workshop, a blacksmith shop, and even the house of the piqueux – the keeper of the hunting dogs. who is represented with his son in front of the fire in the fireplace.

Hunting trophies are not lacking either… but that’s another story. What you won’t find are dogs. There is no longer a pack at Montpoupon Castle , as we found at Cheverny . Does that mean there are no more hunts? No… They continue to do so, but they share the dogs and horses with other families.

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