We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for a throwback post in honor of Tintin’s 90th birthday!
If you are unfamiliar with the Tintin books, the comic strip follows a young reporter around the world as he thwarts nefarious plots. Originally published in Belgium (and hence in French), they are widely available in English. (Here is a helpful overview and recommended reading order of the Tintin books. And the 2011 TinTin cartoon did an excellent job of capturing the spirit of Tintin and weaving elements of many of the books into it too! ) We grew up reading the comics and love(d) them.
We had the opportunity to visit the gorgeous Château de Cheverny when we went to France in November of 2017, and I may or may not have been particularly excited to visit, given that it was the inspiration for Captain Haddock’s Marlinspike Hall in the Tintin books! (If you “cut off” the two outer sections of the château, you have the Hall.) The château was delightful in its own right, but the Tintin exhibit didn’t hurt.
Our first stop was the hound enclosure; Château de Cheverny is renowned for its feeding of the hounds, which is a display of remarkably disciplined hounds waiting to be fed. It was worth timing your visit for! Our one mistake was not staking out a spot near the front of the big enclosure where the feeding actually takes place, rather than the pen where the hounds start out (if you go, say hi to the hounds then keep walking past them to the empty yard right next to where they’re milling around. That’s where they’ll actually be fed. It’s down the fence to the right in the video.)
After watching the hounds’ feeding, we strolled the gardens, then went into the Tintin exhibit. If I remember correctly, we had to to purchase tickets that included this option. Lucky for us, kids under 7 are free! They also offer a family option for tickets. Honestly, since adult tickets are under 20€, I didn’t feel like it was exorbitant to begin with, but I’ll take my discounts where I can! Plus parking was free and easy.
I felt like a child again myself wandering through childhood memories brought to life.
We then toured the château itself, and wandered around more of the grounds and the gardens (simple but gorgeous). We visited on a fall day and loved it, but I can see this being a fabulous place to visit in the spring (when apparently you can take a boat ride).
Naturally, the gift shop stocked Tintin books (in French), so we picked one out to bring home as a souvenir. (No, my daughter does not read French at all, but her Mama has dreams! Motivation.)
If you’re ever in the Loire valley, we highly recommend making time to visit Château de Cheverny! And Tintin. 😉
(If this post has put you in the mood to “visit” France with your children without leaving your house, check out the France Armchair Travel post.)