Melanie Dooley

McDowall, Australia

I have no training in art or design – everything I do is from teaching myself. Most times it works, but sometimes it doesn’t....

Favourite Castle

I was wondering what everyone’s favourite castle is and why.

Also, if there is a castle you have not been to but would like to visit, which one would it be?

I’ll start:

I came across heaps and heaps of beautiful castles when I lived in France. I was very surprised at how many there were. I had also lived in the UK and thought that the castles there were plentiful and scpectacular (which they are) but France was a real surprise.

Near where I lived (in the Monts du Forez region between St Etienne and Clermont Ferrand) were a number of feudal castles. All are perched high on hilltops and many were in ruins. In a little valley in the town of Chalmazel is a remarkably well-preserved castle called, no surprise, Chateau de Chalmazel. It’s history dates back to the mid-13th century. I’ll post some pictures of it in the next few days. It is pretty much intact and now it is run as a hotel/B&B.

I think this is my favourite castle because it was the first castle I could really ‘get to know’ as I lived just down the road from it. It was not yet a B&B when I was living there, so I never had the chance to stay the night, but I did get to tour around the castle and walk along the ramparts.

They have a website: www.chateaudechalmazel.com but I don’t think it is in English.

On my wishlist would be one of those remote castles on a craggy headland in Scotland. Where you have a view out over the lochs and you can watch the storms roll in.

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