14 October 2012

Chenonceau... again?!?!?

Isn't it easy to become very blasé about nearby sights and wonders?

Now there's an interesting "English" word. According to the American Hertitage Dictionary, it means:
blasé adj. 1. Uninterested because of frequent exposure or indulgence. 2. Unconcerned; nonchalant: had a blasé attitude about housecleaning.
How many other English words have an accent on one of their letters?

Can you say "blasé"?

It's a word that's used a lot more in English — at least in American English; I can't speak for the Brits or the Aussies, for example — than it is in French. It's hard for me to think of a time I've heard a French person describe somebody as blasé. Some synonyms are émoussé, dégoûté, désabusé, désenchanté, désillusionné, fatigué, flegmatique, insensible, las, lassé, and sceptique.

The free river walk at Chenonceau, on the left bank of the Cher River

In mentioning blasé attitudes, I was referring to the Château de Chenonceau, one of the most instantly recognizable French buildings, and one of the most visited by tourists. I can't count the number of times I've been there, especially since I discovered the free (no fee) river walk a few years back. If I had to stand in line and pay 10 euros or whatever each time, I wouldn't go to Chenonceaux so often.

My no-entry-fee, no-crowds view of the Château de Chenonceau from the river walk

Did you notice that final X on the name? The town is called Chenonceaux. The name of the "castle" is the Château de Chenonceau. How confusing is that?

Loire Valley tourists

But tourists aren't confused about wanting to see Chenonceau castle — with 850,000 paid entries per year, it's the most popular tourist site in the Loire Valley. And they're not even counting me, because I don't go in through the main door. Anyway, sometimes it feels like 850,000 is too low an estimate. On many summer days, you'd be convinced there are several million people in the château and on the grounds at any given moment.

Another river-walk view of the Château de Chenonceau


  1. Beautiful photos.
    I have used blasé most of my life for the meaning of doing, or seeing something often. So it is used in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UK often methinks. Wet, dark and dismal here today. Enjoy though despite the weather. Diane

  2. In my opinion, blasé means in French someone who has seen and heard everything. Someone who is not young at heart, optimistic, or not readily open to new things or ideas. As about everything, it is subjective.

    I do remember that walk; so quiet and so lovely with “vues imprenables” on the château and the river Cher.

  3. love those views of the chateau...I am having france withdrawal after our 3 week stay

  4. I've been to Chenonceau several times, but not often enough to be blase about it. Maybe I'll go again on next year's trip, if I can figure out how to get to the river walk and escape the entrance fee. All I really want to do is get a good view of it again, not tour the grounds or the chateau.

  5. Hey, I recognize one of those baseball-hat-wearing, camera-carrying tourists! ;)

    Thanks for that clarification about the x on the name of the town, but not on the name of the château.... I'm sure I did not know that, and have puzzled over it.

    I have another former student in France now, in Alençon. She is doing a year as an English assistant at a lycée. Fortunately for her, there are dorm-style living quarters for the assistants! I wish that I had had that when I was supposed to be an assistant (I freaked out and came home, believe it or not). She is writing a blog, and it is such fun to see her discovering the day-to-day France that we all fell in love with as students :))


  6. J'utilise assez souvent ce mot lorsque je parle de mes étudiants et des "jeunes" en général. J'ignorais qu'il était aussi utilisé tel quel, avec son accent, en anglais. Mais effectivement une recherche Google donne 13 millions de réponses, alors que limitée aux pages en français, on descend à 1.3 million, soit 10 fois moins.

  7. I could never be blasé about France. There are just too many new things that I want to see and experience that each time I visit I get that "first time" excitement all over again!
    I, too, recognized that same hat-wearing tourist pointing out something to the others!

  8. Merci, Olivier, c'est intéressant. Reading you and CHM, I realize that the meaning of the word "blasé" is probably different in French from the way we use it in English. For me in the case of Chenonceau, it means that you are unimpressed or unexcited — or at least you pretend to be — when faced with something unusual, marvelous, surprising.

    Judy, Alençon seems to be a nice city. Where were you going to be an assistante, and when was that?

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