Monday, December 20, 2010

Waddesdon Manor at Christmas

Ever since I first visited Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire a year ago, I've been trying to figure out a way to return at Christmas. You'll read much more about this neo-Renaissance  French style chateau built in the late 1800's if you go to the highlighted link, but for our visit this month, our focus was on the Christmas holiday. This year, the National Trust manor house was decorated to honor its French heritage.

The cherubs pointed the way in

where we viewed enormous and spectacularly decorated Christmas trees with French themes from art, culture and music. Every room had at least one blue spruce tree, sometimes as many as three in one room.

The smoking room was warm and cozy

and the billards room honored the celebrated can-can from Le Moulin Rouge.

Garlands graced every doorway including this whimsical one festive with fleur de lis, ribbons and garlic.

Louis XVI oversaw the White Drawing Room where the table was set in a elegant style laid out for a Christmas dinner.

The half circle table was dressed with swags and boughs of blue spruce, accented with pine cones, chilies, cinnamon and cloves. Winterberries filled the vases with color, and the French silver made in Paris for the English King George III added to the sparkle.

Champagne was the theme of the Blue Dining Room

with its fascinating chandelier, made of broken modern porcelain, designed in 2003 by Ingo Maurer and called, "Porca Miseria" or "Oh my goodness" in Italian.

There are many ties to Marie Antoinette and this Rothschild home, and a dress worn by Kirsten Dunst in the recent movie about the French queen was on display for the holidays,

as well as a costume designed for Joely Richardson for The Affair of the Necklace. Located beside the gown was Marie Antoinette's actual personal writing desk.

It wouldn't be Christmas if there were not characters for the children to enjoy, so Babar the French elephant paid a visit,

and Cinderella sat by the fire with her little white mice dreaming of going to the ball. There are many versions of Cinderella that have been told through the years, but one of the earliest versions was written down by the French author, Charles Perrault in 1694. She was known as Cendrillon in that version.

While Cendrillon yearned for a pretty dress and a night out, her ugly stepsisters were taking their time primping for the party.

It was much later in the story that Cendrillon learned she had lost her slipper at the ball and commiserated that her mice would no longer be her footmen for her coach.

We trekked down to the stables to see if we saw any signs of the illusive coach that disappeared at midnight that fateful night, but all we found was a nice lunch,

and a sleigh for picture taking. Memories captured once again of friends on adventures. Stay tuned for more adventures to come....


  1. What a wonderful escape! I so enjoy traveling vicariously with you. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photographs. Happy, happy Christmas!

  2. What gorgeous trees, Debi! Love the Babar and all the other fascinating sights!! What an amazing thing, this living in two cities! What an experience!! Glad you are taking in the sights and sharing them. Jordan is darling in her red dress, by the way!! HaPPY hOLIDAYS!!

  3. Your Christmas in London is like walking through fairy stories of yore; all lovely and magical. Everything is sparkly and beautiful, and I think one of the most unusual items was the chandelier of porcelain shards. It looks as though they captured it just as it was exploding, and then stopped time.

    Your little Jordan looks like she is really growing up. Such a pretty young lady.

  4. You are such a wonderful tour guide for all of us, Debi!! I hope you are able to enjoy the holidays with your family!! Much love to you! xxoo :)

  5. Oh... how very lovely!! I felt as if I was in "Pride and Prejudice" days with Lizzy and Mr. Darcy.
    Have a wonderful Christmas!