Chateau de Seneffe
This chateau (means castle in French) has a fairly unique history and is made of blue stone, which makes it look very cold and dreary, especially in winter!
This stop was also part of a Women's Club tour (came with the canal trip), so Sonya is the only family member here.
The chateau was completed in 1768 and the man who had it built did not live much longer than that (1777 I think). His wife and son kept it up for a while and made beautiful gardens (which we did not have time to see...)
During World War II, the German officer sent to be the "governor" of occupied Belgium used it as a local headquarters and weekend retreat, thus saving it from any bombing!
After the Allies moved into Belgium, it was occupied by the US Army.
From 1952-1963 it was used as a school.
It was then purchased by a monastic society and it's members started selling off everything they could to raise money for upkeep...
In 1970 it was purchased by the Belgian state and they attempted to get back what had been sold or replicate it. A local man left the castle half of his famous collection of silver pieces (about 800 pieces) when he died and they are now on display throughout the rooms of the castle. The other famous quality of the castle is it's parquet flooring. If you know Sonya, you know she spent more time looking at the floors than at the silver!
This flower was the main piece on the wallpaper in the Great Room - it's the same flower we saw at Keukenhof last weekend - the one we called Banana Flower! This picture was for the kids - they thought it was really cool to see the same flower at both places!
Then came the floors! Some of them are original, others had to be replaced when it was found that they had dry rot. The part we really like is how geometric they are -
Some are even optical illusions! Think they knew what they were doing with this back in the 1760's?
You can see a few feet in the above picture - they make you wear special slippers over your shoes to protect the flooring - they came in sizes really small or really big! There was just a bottom piece, two ends that were exactly the same, and an elastic to hold them on. We all felt like we had to skate around the castle just to keep them from falling off since they were so big!
This is the floor of the Great Room (the Salle Grande) - it had three patterns - the edge you can see to the left above, then the illusion part, then the star below in the center.
If you were hoping for silver, I am sorry! It really didn't interest me much, but the floors did!
That's all for this day trip with the club - there's another next week to the Royal Glasshouses...