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Montesquieu's Château de La Brède is Vintage

Friday, April 25, 2014

I feel a little less than intelligent that I had no idea who Montesquieu was, being that all of France (and I'm sure most of Europe) is fully aware of his famous books. He was an 18th century writer and philosopher of who's oh-so-vintage castle I toured this week. We're far more acquainted now.

Château de la Brède is 40 minutes outside of Bordeaux. If you want to take the tour of the château it's 7 euros, only in French, and unfortunately guided. The 10 screaming kids were the worst part of the entire experience...best birth control ever.

The castle was constructed in the 14th century, however additions were made until the 19th century. It's so massive yet it looks so small on the property. And By property I mean 370 acre park.
What I love about this castle is that it was kept in the same family for 900 years. Everything inside is antique and withering away with time. So much better than the fake set-ups in the châteaux owned by France.
The final owner passed away at the age of 91 in 2004 with no children, but still kept the castle private. It has been passed to the Foundation Jacqueline de Chabannes
Montesquieu's Bedroom
The famous Montesquieu was a traveler like myself. Many of the pieces in the house are from his 4-year journey between several countries in Europe. Although not the best lookin' guy (there are several paintings of him inside) he seemed like a solid catch for the single ladies of the 1700's.
Jeanne de Lartigue's Bedroom
Apparently he was a gold digger because his marriage was arranged to Jeanne de Lartigue for her money. Her roles were as follows: make babies, take care of babies, take care of the vineyard as if it were her baby. Montesquieu was gone 5 months out of the year so who knows what kind of side-dish he had.
Secretary's Bedroom
It's said that he went through thirty secretaries. He was one of those crazy up-all-night thinkers so they were forced to be woken up at all hours and listen to his newest ideas. Their bedroom was right next to his!
17th Century Living Room
Montesquieu was brilliant. He spoke 5 languages: English, Italian, Greek, French, and Latin. I feel so lame struggling to be bilingual, and there he was multi-lingual, no problem.
Montesquieu's Library
It would only make sense that the library is the biggest room in the castle. None of the books are left as most were either sold or donated but the tour guide mentioned that he had around 4800 at one time.
You won't get to see all of the château. Mathieu and I noticed an entire tower and wing of the castle that we had not entered. It only makes sense being that we never saw a kitchen or a bathroom..and I'm pretty sure they still ate back then.

The tour was not too bad. Our guide was very insightful, and I was given a packet in English in order to follow along. Unfortunately I'm not multi-lingual like Montesquieu.



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