Despite being so big, this sweet chateau is romantic and cosy!
When I stepped on the TER bound for Maintenon I didn’t know what I was going to encounter. Based on what I knew historically about Madame Francoise, I figured I would see a lot of Catholic religious items and a very quiet colorless decor. Why? Again, based on what I have read about her being a deeply pious woman. Walking just a short distance from the gare I was pleasantly greeted with forests, the sound of babbling water, and whistling trees waving softly in the wind.
Instantly I fell in love with this mysterious and magical rural little town. As with any respectable French town or village, you will find cozy restaurants, bakeries, and little quirky antique shops. I had to fight the urge to go into the many antique shops I bumped into for practical reasons. 1. I don’t have a car and 2. I am on my way to visit a chateau.
Of course, I must admit that one of the reasons I adore Madame Maintenon is because of her relationship with my main man King Louis XIV. I don’t know what it is about that guy but I am obsessed! (I can admit he made some bad choices, but he made some good ones too). Anyway, when you dig deep enough you will find their story is actually quite romantic.
Once inside you will be treated with warmth and sweetness completely unexpected. Considering that she stopped coming to Maintenon in 1688. I understand she felt she needed to stay with the king, and he valued her guidance. Without her, there wouldn’t have been a school for girls at Saint-Cyr for orphaned girls.
I am very aware she also influenced some pretty horrible things during her time with Louis. As with anyone in history she had her faults, but we will not get into those now.
After a lovely visit, I enjoyed a little walkabout around the sweet little gardens. Despite the weather being a bit humid, it was all again romantic. Even with all the memorabilia of Louis XIV and Francoise herself, this home feels personal. I asked my husband if we could live here but he denied my request. Something about it being too expensive, or something.
The staff is incredibly friendly, and those of you who do not speak French fear not they speak English here too! The little gift boutique I found a little lacking but very charming. Again the staff was welcoming and very helpful. The town is so lovely, as I mentioned above. Very quaint and small and suburban. This is a town you could really see yourself visiting, living in, and growing a family.
Should you find yourself in the countryside be sure to stop in at Chateau Maintenon, you will not be disappointed.