What has labyrinthine gardens, trompe-l’oeil floors, a multi-media show, spicy hot chocolate, and some rather racy art pieces? Seneffe Chateau and gardens in the heart of Walloon Belgium.
It was a rainy day and we were looking for something to do. We had hoped to walk the gardens but it was too muddy after too many days of wet weather. So we settled on the château. Beautiful from the outside, inside is in such great shape that they make you wear very odd over-shoes.
The trompe-l’oeil floors are a big part of the reason for this. They are fantastic.
The lovely little café sells teas, coffee, a few little cakes (the one I tasted was nice and moist) and the most fantastic hot chocolate with a bite. It is flavored with a hot chili called piri piri. Even better? The server was dressed in an 18th century gown complete with period hair and makeup.
The current exposition inside the château is called Curiosity in the 18th Century. Meant to show how the 18th Century was marked by inquisitiveness, it includes art from all over the world and a video of the debut of electricity during that time frame. To be honest, it wasn’t what I love about visiting châteaux, but there were some interesting moments. And some rather odd ones, like the pair of glass penises. I may be a woman of a certain age, but I dunno, glass phalli aren’t so much in my frame of reference. I kind of was so, er… surpised! by them that I forgot to photograph them. Probably for the best. I can tell you that one was clear glass and the other was a kind of ceramic.
There’s a crazy beautiful bathtub on display, and a well-appointed 18th century bedroom. The fantastic period clothing is actually touchable. The chandeliers and ceiling medallions are impressive, in almost every room, and some of the wallpaper is over the top. The stairway begs you to walk down it gracefully (a gift I’m not blessed with). There are way more silver hot chocolate carafes than any one château needs.
The grounds are free access and have lovely walking trails both in the sunshine (when there is sunshine in Belgium) and in the trees. And later in spring there will be flowers, and so the gardens will be lovely to walk. I actually wrote about the gardens here.
It’s a recommendable visit, not long, but go when you want to walk the gardens, and remember, those are free.
I wrote about another great Belgian château here.
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment. See you in (not-so) sunny Belgium.