There are so many wonderful places in Provence that it will be extremely difficult to choose only one of them. Therefore, during the next trip across the region, we decided to look at the little known town of Mazan. We suspect that this town has grown around the castle of a local nobleman, built in the early 18th century (although, rather, the castle was built in the center of somebody’s property). It is noteworthy that for several centuries this castle was owned by a famous family – the Marquise de Sade. Yes, the very same author of “120 Days of Sodom” and the founder of the BDSM practice named after him belonged to the noble family, however, he rarely visited this castle, and did “nothing of it” there.
The Great French Revolution was very cruel to many noble families, and the Marquise de Sade did not escape the sad fate. Mazan Castle was plundered and fell into disrepair, although it was owned by the famous family until 1850. At the beginning of the 20th century, it housed a nursing home, and only in 2001, it was purchased by its current owner, who redesigned the castle into a hotel.
There is something unimaginably alluring about visiting ancient castles. Perhaps the reason is that the Russian heritage of previous times was almost completely destroyed as a result of a similar regime change with all the resulting consequences. So, visits to the European “long-faded grandeur” are the only way to visualize historical events and vividly imagine the way of life. In this meaning, globalization has brought its positive influence – currently, it is not a big deal to find a hotel located in a historic building or castle.
Mazan is located in the Provence region, the picturesque views of which can not be transmitted using an iPhone camera, no matter how hard you try. Mazan Castle provides guided tours of the region, but we decided to visit the neighborhood on our own, by car rented through bookingauto.com. The unforgettable views of the town of Gord will remain in your memory for a long time, as well as the emerald waters of the local canals and watermills with the hardly pronounced name L Isle Sur La Sorgue (I will write a separate post about these places). Bike rides are very popular here, as well as mountain biking – you should be very careful when driving through narrow streets, and look out for troubled cyclists in all mirrors of your car.
Service in such hotels as Chateau de Mazan is mainly focused on personal contact and the individual needs of guests. The surprisingly friendly staff of the hotel tries to meet all the requests of guests, and demonstrates maximum attention to their needs. Having delayed on the road, we realized that we would arrive to check into the hotel after 10 pm. Here I should mention the local peculiarities of the work of catering establishments – restaurants work strictly 2 times a day: lunch usually from 00 to 02 pm, and dinner from 08 to 10 pm. And this rule is very strict – if you come to lunch at 02:30 pm in France, you will be politely refused. The same is about the dinner. So, being late, we called the hotel asking them to keep some food for us, and the helpful staff did it. On our late arrival, we were met with a dish with local cheeses, cold cuts and flavored French bread. They did not forget even about a small bottle of local wine. The evening was great 🙂
The interiors of the castle certainly have undergone major changes since times when it was used for its original purpose. However, even now we can see the remains of past splendor: starting from the wine cellar, then in the room interiors, and to the stunning spiral staircase that combines all elements of the castle together. Being there, you feel involvement in something great, which left its trace in history. We also plan to visit other French castles, if it will be possible. Fortunately, we know how to find them 😉