Sunday, July 01, 2007

Memories from France: Chateaux De Milandes

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The view from our house was of mountains, forests and fields with only a couple of visible buildings, the Chateaux De Milandes being one of them. As chateaux go it was fairly small but the architecture was stunning with lots of gargoyles peeping out all around the building.

The chateaux has been restored and turned into a museum dedicated to Josephine Baker. Josephine Baker was a American who suffered from a very hard childhood. In 1925 she travelled to France and quickly established herself as a topless dancer. In 1937 Josephine fell in love with Chateaux De Milandes and rented it for a number of years before buying it. The chateaux contains many of her costumes from her period as a dancer including the famous banana skirt.

Forget about Brangelina and their rainbow family, Josephine was there first. She adopted 12 children from various different countries and they lived in the Chateaux along with her third husband. Josephine also helped the French resistance during the second world war and was awarded a medal for her resistance work.

Unfortunately there came a time when Josephine could no longer maintain the chateaux and she had to sell it, the current owners turned it into a museum in her memory and a lot of the work and design Josephine chose is still there today including the opulent bathrooms.

There was also a bird of pray exhibition on at the chateaux although unfortunately we got mixed up with the times and missed it. We were able to see all the birds in their cages from owls to buzzards to falcons.

14 comments:

frannie said...

I need one of those banana skirts!!! :)

what a beautiful place!

Karmyn R said...

That is very interesting! - I've heard of Josephine Baker, but didn't know she ended up in France with 12 children.

john.g. said...

Stop with all the photos, I am sooooooo jealous!! lol.

Steffi said...

Very nice pictures again.The old castles are very beautiful to see!

my4kids said...

That is a beautiful place. You guys saw some great places on your holiday, I'm a bit jealous!

headless chicken said...

It's great that the current owners of the chateaux have turned it into a museum of Josephine Baker.
Beautiful photos again!

laurie said...

man, it just doesn't get any better than a banana skirt.

what did they sell in the gift shop?

Sam said...

Oh wow, it looks like a fairytale castle!! So beautiful.

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear beccy. Cool photos! What a great story. I'm also impressed that you linked to SMH.com.au for your brangelina story - that's my daily read, being a former sydneysider...

Marmite Breath said...

Oooh la la! C'est magnifique!

Pamela said...

I'm scared of some of those stone figures. whoa!

Baker was way before her time --

mjd said...

Very interesting, what a colorful character, this Josephine Baker was.

Sam said...

you must have been most flattered to find your likeness gargoylized

ChrisB said...

beccy that sounds interesting, I would love to have seen the JB museum.