Saturday, 5 February 2011

The Hounds at Cheverny

If you are a dog lover, one of the not to be missed châteaux in the Loire Valley is Cheverny.

This privately owned estate is home to a pack of magnificent anglo-french hounds with bloodlines going back many generations. Visitors can see them any time that the château is open, either at the kennels, or if they are lucky, out being exercised, when they swarm around their handlers, cheerfully lolloping through the grounds.

The dogs live communally in a large kennel. Mostly they just lounge around, like hounds anywhere, relaxing, taking a drink from the water trough, settling the odd dispute about hierachy and standing about looking noble for the tourists.

In the late afternoon the atmosphere in the kennels becomes restless, as feeding time approaches. Eventually a line of meat and kibble is laid out. Not a dog moves, but they all watch expectantly for the signal that they may start eating. The tension is almost unbearable! The signal is given and whoosh! Everything is gobbled down in less than a minute!

The visitors breath out, and head off to look at the fabulous interior of the château itself, the picturesque canalside gardens or the museum dedicated to the Tintin cartoons.

If you are a dog lover and would like to meet the hounds, why not get in touch with us? One of our standard day trips includes Cheverny, or we can design a tour especially for you.