The Balzac Museum: Literature, chlorophyll and inner peace
Far from the hustle and the splendour of great monuments, the Balzac Museum located in the heart of the Indre valley, in the charming little village of Saché, very close to Azay-le-Rideau, offers a romantic break in a peaceful even monastic atmosphere, off the beaten track.
Immersed in the 19th century, you will discover the place where Honoré de Balzac stayed several times between 1825 and 1842, invited by his friend Jean Margonne and his wife, owners of the place. Right where he wrote Le Père Goriot, Louis Lambert, César Birotteau, Illusions perdues and where he found the ideal décor of his famous Lys dans la vallée
Between stories and reality
Over the last years, the Museum has emphasized the Balzac identity of the castle by enriching the reception rooms and the apartments of the second floor with magnificent furniture entrusted by the National Furniture. Each room refers to the life of Balzac or his characters.
Besides, we don’t know well anymore, and this makes the visit magical! On which side of the mirror do we find ourselves? With Balzac, the Margonne and Madame Hanska or with Félix de Vandenesse, Madame de Mortsauf and the abbey Birotteau?
Does it really matter? Ten to one Balzac, if he came back, would feel at home again, take possession of the place and start writing again as the current atmosphere of the castle is favourable to reflection.
Highlight of the visit: Balzac’s bedroom. Certainly, the most touching room for the Balzacians. All is sober and simple, almost austere. In the middle, facing the window overlooking the “solitary small valley” and “the two-hundred-year-old woods”, the small desk and the wing chair where, tireless, the author sit down to write for hours. We could almost guess that he is there, dressed in a dressing gown working relentlessly until the blasted bell rings to announce the dinner!
On the same floor, the study room of the manuscript pages also offers many surprises to the passionate persons. Precious documents written or published by Honoré de Balzac are preserved there.
You can immerse yourself even more in this Balzacian atmosphere during the musical shows proposed by the museum (upon reservation).
From Balzac to Rodin: the work making the link
On the ground floor, this is Balzac, the printer to whom we are next in an amazing printing room of the 19th century. And right next door, it is the Rodin room. Here the final study of Balzac’s sculpture ordered to Rodin by the Société des Gens de Lettres in 1891 has pride of place. A work that, due to its originality at the time, caused quite a stir and marked a turning point in the art of Rodin giving rise to modern sculpture.
Several plaster studies and bronze drawings of the artist can be admired, displayed along with the works of the sculptors Alexandre Falguière and Marquet de Vasselot.
Unusual: Balzacian naps!
But why don’t you! The idyllic setting of the Indre Valley and the Castle Park described by Balzac in the Lys dans la vallée suits perfectly.
In the summer, on Sundays, at the very beginning of the afternoon, when the sun is at its zenith, the museum invites you to have a break and recharge your batteries in the shade of the park’s trees.
Comfortably seated in some deckchairs or if you are in the mood for doing it, lying down on the fresh grass, plunged yourself into a smooth torpor, you will be lulled by the stories of the Comédie Humaine. A most original way to know the author or to discover his works again.
And if, being calmed down and bucked up by such experience, you suddenly feel the soul of an adventurer, you will follow in the author’s footsteps to discover the landscapes and the emblematic places of the Lys dans la vallée during a waymarked walk in the heart of the Indre Valley (Document available in the Tourist Office and at the Balzac Museum).
Finally, if after all these adventures, you feel hungry, settle down at one of the very good tables of the Inn of the 12th century where Balzac was used to be.