I don’t know about you but when I think of a French château the image that jumps to my mind (after singing all the songs from Beauty and the Beast obvs!) is of tall elegant windows, long manicured gardens and sweeping stone staircases.
Having never really contemplated what it would feel like to stand inside a fairy-tale castle, or how the light would break through the windows and dance across antique rugs that sit nestled under original 17th century chaise longues. When the opportunity presented itself to photograph the magnificent, glorious, majestic, exquisite Château du Grand-Lucé, in the words of Rene Zellweger, “You had me at hello.”
The Grand Salon at the heart of the exceptional Château du Grand-Lucé, just south of Paris in the Loire, has me transfixed. I am actually quite emotional. I have been lucky enough to stand in some very beautiful and carefully curated hotels and great houses, but nothing prepares you for this. Every inch has been considered, debated and lovingly presented. Every room delivers its own unique experience.
From the significant hand painted de Gournay hunting wallpaper, “La Chasse de Campiegné”, that lines the walls in La Galerie de Chasse, to the rich luxurious Pierre Frey fabrics that flow like waterfalls cascading down against the 25ft original casement windows framing the view across the immaculate formal gardens.
You very quickly realise that this is no ordinary gaff!
Each suite is as breathtaking in scale as it is in detail. The wallpaper in every salon is an exceptional and priceless example of French style at its best. Discretion and luxury at the very highest.
The Baran’s Suite stops you in your tracks. The walls aren’t just painted, they are utterly adorned by artist Jean Baptiste Pillement (1728-1808) and found only in one other place – the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s private garden palace at Versailles (I know!).
The Salon Chinois, once the Baran’s private drawing room is now a private sanctuary for guests to enjoy.
I started my conversation with the team behind the Chateau du Grand-Lucé late in 2018. The Chateau was mid refurbishment and they wanted a photographer who could and would capture the new spirit of this majestic property. He was already booked so they got me! (cymbals stage right!)
Setting foot on set you feel you have been swept up in an elegant production of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses”, only more so, and then just a little bit more!
The style is a heady mix of traditional French with stylish American influences. However, there is no doubt at all, this is a very French offering. There must have been a significant amount of shoe leather replaced by the clever souls that sourced all the original French pieces from around the world
There is no question that there was an element of ‘pinch me’ during this project. My team were fortunate to work alongside such a highly knowledgeable body of professionals, who made sure every infinitesimal detail was perfect for every shot.
Everyone has a bucket list hidden away somewhere and please trust me when I tell you, Chateau du Grande-Lucé has to be on there.
Need your Château photographed? Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chateau du Grand-Lucé