My new book – Le Petit Livre des Chateaux – lists 78 Chateaux in France.  I am positive there are more.  But this is a good starting point.  I have visited 23 of them so far. About 30%.  Now I have a goal. And with a good friend who lives in the suburbs of Paris and owns a car, I have a great travel companion.

2016-04-27 10.31.02-2Wednesday we set off for Chateaudun.  It’s located 90 minutes south west of Paris.  The way there was on the freeway.  Oops.  Toll road.

By beautiful fields of yellow.  Nope.  Not what you are thinking.  You are thinking MUSTARD.  Not Dijon, Grey Poupon or even French’s!  It is colza.  Same botanical word in both languages.  We also call it rapeseed.

Did you know it is the third leading source of 2016-04-27 10.34.41vegetable oil in the world?   It was used mostly as a lubricant until a Canadian scientist bred strains of rapeseed that was
safe for livestock and humans.  Who knew?

Maybe I should rename this blog “Who knew?”

2016-04-27 10.41.50And even found a windmill.  I thought we had suddenly transported to The Netherlands.  But no.  Even the French had these windmills.  This was one of the benefits of the car – it was off to the side and I just caught a glimpse of a sail.  A minor adventure to turn off the highway in search.


The Chateau of Chateaudun was built between the 12th and 16th centuries.  The donjon  (round tower, castle keep) 2016-04-27 11.40.56was the first building and then two wings were added in the 1450s and late 1500s.  Pretty much trashed during the French Revolution (those guys had no respect!) – the French government took it over in the 1900s and started a major renovation.

Huge rooms – reminded me of the Pope’s Palace in Avignon.  Well – not THAT big.  But high barrel 2016-04-27 11.50.12ceilings.  And as you went through the rooms, the newer ones had wood paneling.  I am sure that was warmer than the tapestries – which were far warmer than bare walls.

We took a guided tour – in French of course – of the donjon.  This meant climbing 140 steps.  My Fitbit says I climbed 28 floors in all.  Happy to say my knees held up.  The view was quite spectacular – but through wire grills to keep you from falling over or throwing trash over… or maybe a friend… or maybe another tourist who was talking all through the guide’s spiel.  Just sayin’

And a picturesque return to Paris by backroads.