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Château de Cadillac Isn't Your Average Royal Castle

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Château de Cadillac is most definitely a place I would sprint away from at night. It ultimately creeps me out, but it may just be the story behind it. This isn't the happy, jolly castle with royal objects all around. I mean, yes partially, but was also a women's prison from 1818 until 1890.

The first Duke of Épernon had the château built in the 17th century. Henri IV wasn't too fond of him so he basically sent him as far away from Paris as possible. It passed through several families until eventually it was left for dead and they made it a prison. The end.
Just kidding. It might not have the most exciting royal history, but its architectural history is pretty impressive. I, for one was blown away by the fireplaces. They are considered the most decorative "chiminée" in France.
Take note of the floral shutters and the cielings as well. Girard Pageout painted every one of them back in the early 1600's. Even after centuries of fading they're still more beautiful than my white walls.
What's interesting about the castle is also how it was built. Aside from the prison additions, Cadillac is built for each room to lead into the other, basically in a perfect line, nearly all equal in size. Ah, socialist France.
When the time came around for a prison, all of the royal bedrooms were either dorms for prisoners or parts of the infirmary. There were no dark, creepy cells like we have today (none of which I saw at least). In fact, they lived in very particular conditions.
In this room slept around 100 women. They were to have zero communication or the nuns would whoop them silly (just a guess). I read that the day started at 5:30am, they ate, worked, went to chapel, took a "exercise" walk in the courtyard, worked, ate, and slept at 8pm.
The priests felt that by making these women work hard they might smack some sense into them. Some were there for quite some time, with the judge sentencing them to 15 years of "harsh working conditions." Basically by making les femmes work like slaves, they would have an easier time adjusting back into normal society? Hm.
It said most of them were there for stealing and child neglect. I secretly hoped it was going to be some more Scarlett Letter type things. Great book though.
It looks so pretty, so why I'm so freaked out by this place? Well, A) the way it looked as the sun went down and B) that many prisoners committed suicide in the garden by throwing themselves down a well. Happy Travels!

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