One of the more fun ways to immerse myself in French is to watch movies in the original language but with French subtitles. The volume is on low so that my eyes pick up on new vocabulary more than relying on the ears for keeping up with the story line. At some point my brain catches up and it becomes quite entertaining to see how accurate the translations are…at times it is a disaster and other times it is a wonderful experience if you love words and language and the art of context translation as much as I do.
So I thought we were storming a castle today you say to me. We are. I begin today’s post with that anecdote because for the last five nights I’ve been watching a mini-marathon of the Lord of the Rings trilogy before going to bed (the final hour of the third movie is tonight and my fingers are crossed that the hot but reluctant King ends up with the impossibly gorgeous elf princess!). I know in the last post I said I pick up random vocabulary from perusing the Hermès color charts, but where else can I pick up words like Ã©claireur and maudit but in these fantasy movies?
Anyway, there are a lot of castles depicted in the movies–incredible CGI, I might add–so I’ve had castles on the brain before I reach the ChÃ¢teau Fort de Sedan. Now I knew beforehand that this place was more of a fortress than a fairy tale castle, but when it first comes into view, I am still surprised that it looks more like a huge bunker. Emphasis on HUGE.
Shall we go inside?
So this is what seven stories on 35,000 square meters look like…
It’s about 8.5euros for an admission ticket, and you are free to wander around the exhibited space on your own…
The castle is now both a living museum and a 3-star hotel. The museum is not as well curated as I’d hoped, given its long history, but still a good learning experience:
There’s an incredible model of the castle and town around it:
So from this visit I learn that there are lots of creative ways to hurt or trap your enemies if you build the fort correctly, from the way you narrow the stairs or turn them counterclockwise to confuse the invaders…
to the way you incorporate drop holes to stun the enemy below (picked up the term l’assommoir and the origin behind the idiom passer l’arme a gauche on this visit, which was well worth the admission fee alone :D):
But I think the best part of the visit for me is taking advantage of the height of the structure to gaze into the city beyond…
When you go outside to visit the ramparts,
you really wonder why this…
can’t just organically happen without this:
I think it would be quite fun to spend a day or two on the grounds and feel thankful that we no longer live in medieval times (imagine life without the Internet, gasp!):
As I leave, I spot a wedding party arriving for the festivities:
I can only imagine how much fun it must be to have such a great backdrop for their wedding photos.