26 mai 2024

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CARNIVAL OF VENICE AT THE CHÂTEAU DE BREEUIL

On October 8, the Château de Breteuil and its gardens hosted the Venice Carnival for the tenth consecutive year.

Located 35 km from Paris and 20 km from Verailles, the Château de Breteuil is surrounded by a 75-hectare park. In a magnificent setting, it brings to life 50 wax figures, evoking the daily life of a famous family. In the outbuildings, you can discover 8 tales by Perrault staged with sound and lights. We thus find “Little Thumb” and his brothers taking refuge in a tree, “Bluebeard”, “Little Red Riding Hood”, at the bedside of his “grandmother”, Cinderella”, “Puss in Boots” and his orchestra or again “Peau d’Âne” at the wash house, in the aisles!
Events for all audiences (escape game, Venice carnival or even a special Halloween day, etc.) are organized during the year and school holidays.

Apart from Perrault’s tales, the castle offers other themes: the art of gardens (the French gardens, the princes’ garden, the orangery labyrinth and the romantic route), the history of France (the folk art, the beds of flowers and perennial plants, the remarkable tree walk which leads to the romantic ponds) or even the storyteller who tells stories by Charles Perrault.

While strolling through the gardens of the Château de Breteuil, you can discover beautiful statues and fountains, flowered paths and the labyrinth. It is the ideal place to organize a day dedicated to the Venice carnival. On October 8, thanks to the association “Au fil des idées”, around thirty people dressed in period costumes to stroll through the aisles and meet visitors in a fairytale atmosphere. Throughout the route, 20 animated cats and boots await visitors. For those who wanted to, it was possible to immerse themselves in the atmosphere by renting colorful disguises. Wolves, Venetian masks, period wigs, hats, jewelry, makeup and flies were there. for a fancy dress evening, a meal with guests or strolling in Venetian outfits (calli)  in the gardens.

The castle

The Château de Breteuil is over 400 years old. It is located in Choisel in Yvelines and belongs to the Breteuil family. Today Henri-François de Breteuil, 10th marquis of the name is the owner.
Classified as a historic monument since July 1973, the castle and its entire park have been listed since February 14, 2022. The park and the French and English gardens are labeled “remarkable garden”.
Inside, you can discover sketches linked to the life and history of the castle staged by wax statues made by the Grévin museum and automatons made by Janie and Armand Langlois.

Built in the 17th century, the castle has a square courtyard surrounded by walls or buildings and bordered by ditches. There are 2 corner pavilions and a central passage body. At the back of the courtyard, along its entire length, a large building whose central body has been preserved. The structure of the buildings is brick with plaster filling. French and English gardens surround the castle.

The Venice Carnival

The Venice Carnival is a traditional Italian festival dating back to the Middle Ages. It begins 10 days before Ash Wednesday and ends with Mardi Gras. Its costumes and masks characterize it and bring many visitors. It would have appeared in the 10th century during public performances in the last days preceding the modification of Lent. It served to shape civic and political cohesion. Over time, the aristocrats associated it with the people by carrying out public games including “The Human Pyramid” (Strength of the Ass), the pig hunt in the 13th century replaced by the bull hunt in the 16th century followed by the to death and a distribution of meat, at festivals (the Doge’s bride with the sea, Mary’s Day replaced at the end of the 14th century by Shrove Thursday marked by the ritual sacrifice of the bull and 12 pigs, these spectacles affirming the power of its city. The first goal of the carnival was to abolish social constraints, masks, the oldest of which is the Harlequin, and costumes decorated with embroidery, pearls and lace guaranteeing anonymity. During the last weekend of the carnival, an international jury chooses the prize for the most beautiful mask.

Every year, nearly 500,000 visitors attend parades that they can immortalize in photos throughout the city which bring together magnificent costumes, palaces and gondolas. During the carnival, the secret Doge City only appears at sunset. 18th century costumed dinners, by the light of chandeliers, are organized in the Baroque-inspired palaces which recall the Venetian art of living, with participants wearing their hair and powder.

Breteuil and the Venice Carnival

On October 8, the Château de Breteuil and its gardens hosted the Venice Carnival for the tenth consecutive year. On this occasion, we could discover fairy tale characters and visitors were able to participate by renting period clothing.

Furthermore, the Château de Breteuil has a very beautiful collection of family dresses and costumes from the 17th to the 19th century. There we discover marquis costumes and crinoline dresses reminiscent of the family’s ancestors such as Louis-Auguste de Breteuil, minister of Louis XVI or Gabrielle-Zmilie de Breteuil, muse of Voltaire known as “Madame Pompon Newton”.

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