Messages from the past scratched into the stone.
|Graffiti in the chapel of the Chateau of Chenonceau.|
This one hour long tour takes place at either the Chateau of Chenonceau or the Donjon of Loches. In both cases you will see some extraordinary and unique graffiti, but the two sites are quite different, so talk to me about which you might prefer.
|Graffiti stags, probably 16C, Loches.|
Even though we rarely know the names of those who made the marks or the messages, each of the examples you will see tell a story about their times. They are almost always associated with conflict (the Reformation and Wars of Religion, the World Wars, the Revolution). None of them are well known and few guides have any real information about them or even point them out.
|16C Lifesize graffiti soldiers, Loches.|
Very little study has been made of the graffiti, but my research indicates that these are not idle scratch marks. They are extensive and made by people who really wanted to get a message across, from the 16C to modern times. In all cases the graffiti are absolutely unique and you will not see anything like them elsewhere. In fact, don't even think of them as graffiti -- they are messages from the past, and in some cases, works of art. 16C street art -- except it's not in the street! I cannot stress enough how unique this graffiti is and how little known, except to a few local experts.
|Lifesize graffiti of soldiers dueling, Loches.|
Chateau of Chenonceau
*meet at the Sphinxes on the driveway in front of the Chateau of Chenonceau.
*at the Chateau of Chenonceau: see WWII graffiti on the river wall, WWI graffiti in the Long Gallery and mysterious and important 16C graffiti in the chapel.
*afterwards you have the opportunity to explore the rest of the chateau at your own pace.
|Painted river boat, Loches.|
Donjon of Loches
*meet at the Porte Royale (Royal Gate) of the Cité Royal (Royal Citadel) in Loches.
*at the Donjon (keep) of Loches: see a painted river boat in a prison cell, an entire room carved with religious motifs and lifesize soldiers, many messages and drawings on the staircase walls, paintings by Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan on the walls of his prison cell.
*afterwards you have the opportunity to explore the rest of the citadel at your own pace.
|WWI graffiti at the Chateau of Chenonceau.|
Now your eye is in you will see more graffiti. Don't miss the witch marks and the Revolutionary messages!
|WWII graffiti in the grounds of the Chateau of Chenonceau.|
This tour as a whole or partially, can be customized to fit your preferences - please inquire!
|16C wall paintings by Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, in his prison cell, Loches.|
Duration: 1 hour.
16C Wall paintings by Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, in his prison cell, Loches.
This is a walking tour. At the Chateau of Chenonceau the paths are gravel and no need to take the stairs to see graffiti. At the Donjon of Loches there are quite a few stairs, in narrow spiral towers.
Price: €75 for groups of up to 4 people. Admission tickets are not included.
Booking: email firstname.lastname@example.org at least one day before you wish to take the tour. Tours can be conducted on any day of the week, throughout the year, at a time to suit you.
About the Guide: I am Susan Walter. I specialise in story telling, the weaving together of this fact and that, this character and their relationship with another. It is a technique which brings alive the history of what is sometimes just stones to look at, but those stones may lead to something wonderfully evocative and provide a better understanding of the past. Much of the history of the Loire Valley is about important characters which you will have heard of, but there is a great deal of hidden history too -- characters who have been forgotten in modern times, motivations for deeds which seem inexplicable can become clear, how different life was then, but also how similar. If you want to know who would graffiti a royal chapel and why, and why it isn't who most guides will tell you it is, then take a tour with me. If you want to know about the history of bathing and personal hygiene, and how that isn't quite what you think it is, then take a tour with me. If you want to meet fascinating characters from history who really made a difference, often women, then take a tour with me.
|WWI graffiti in the Chateau of Chenonceau.|
English speaking, born and raised in Australia, I lived for 12 years in England, where I worked for the National Trust in their Historic Buildings Conservation Department, and now in the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Loire Valley for more than a decade. I am an active heritage and nature conservation professional with experience of working with conservators and curators to care for historic objects and buildings, and with ecologists caring for our natural environment. Deeply embedded in the local scene I speak quite good French and enjoy life in a small village near some fabulous chateaux and lovely countryside. I'm always happy to talk about life in France and am friends with many wine makers and local food producers.