The Chateau de Meillant in France is an historical Gothic castle that is open to the
public providing tours of the ninety lavishly furnished period rooms, the garden, and the Musee de Miniature which is located in the cellar of the castle. Open every day from February 1 to November 30, visitors can learn about the history and the lineage of the families that have owned this castle, and view the different types of architecture that make up this castle that was begun in the 14th century. Several families have inhabited the castle include Charles de Chaumont d’Amboise who was governor of Italy
who was involved in much of the early construction of the castle.
The interior of the castle is opulent in style and contains antiques from many periods from the Middle Ages through Art Deco design. Of note are walls covered in Cordova leather, a musician’s gallery, a collection of Bruges tapestries and the ornate Gothic furnishings. There is also a magnificent chapel built in the 16th century complete with an ornate altarpiece and elegant stained glass windows.
The entire castle was restored in 1842 by Louis Lenormand, a famous architect of the
time. The restoration included rebuilding the upper floors of the central building, the addition of parapets, and carved roofs and a redesign of the interior space. The castle is registered as a historic monument.
In addition to the gardens and the castle rooms, the cellar is now a museum for miniatures portraying what castle life was like in a miniature historical setting from the Middle Ages and beyond. The miniature museum is an undertaking of the current owner, Aimery Mortemart who wanted to combine his love of
history with an interest in miniatures. Most of the dollhouses or miniature buildings were created by designer Philippe Velu who is a well known scenic designer. Additions have been made to the collection of diminutive buildings and dollhouses over the years including Victorian dollhouses, a garden elves cottage, and even a Gone with the Wind replica. Visitors will also find a miniature drug store, garage, and other modern miniatures. The museum lets visitors see a history of architecture in miniature from the Middle Ages through modern times.
To make a visit to the castle even more memorable, visitors can also participate in a
variety of games, mysteries and magic. For children they can help to free the Frisky Fairy who is being held prisoner by a mean sorcerer. There are also games for adults including a treasure hunt where you have to decipher codes to locate the secret of the three lords.