Yesterday afternoon, I drove with our friend Peter Hertzmann, who's here for a long-planned weekend visit, over to the village of Lassay-sur-Croisne, near Romorantin, and spent a couple of hours at the Château du Moulin. It made me think of our friend Cheryl, who passed away at the end of the week, because we went there with her in 2003. Our first visit to Le Moulin was with Cheryl's cousin and friend Sue, in 2000 — 16 years ago already!
Peter and I took the guided tour of the inside of the château, as we had done with Sue and then Cheryl in 2001 and 2003. The tour was much more professionally done that it was back then, and the guide was very informed and informative. The château is no longer occupied by its owner, a woman who was something like 93 when she died in 2010. Before her death, knowing that somebody actually lived in the château made the tours feel like you might be invading somebody's privacy — but it was her choice to open her "house" up to the public. Now it feels more like a tourist attraction than a residence.
The Château du Moulin was built over the last quarter of the 15th century, and in a sort of faux medieval style. At that time, the French Renaissance was gaining steam, some of the grandest Loire Valley châteaux were being built. The new style was to build grand, more comfortable residences than fortified military structures. The guide said the Moulin never saw warfare but was mainly a fancy residence in a forest. It was "moated" and sort of semi-fortified for protection from bandits and highwaymen — and because the man who had it built liked the old style of architecture.