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Inspirational setting

Inspirational setting

It's Easter, the weather is bleak, and we're on our way to Château Jemeppe. Heard much about it, studied the website, but never saw it in 'real life'.
After Liege, we pass through the green rolling landscape of the Ardennes. Now calm and peaceful, but once a spot where the Second World War raged in full ferocity. A historical setting, indelibly; visible to all that want to see.

It is precisely that feeling, that sense  of history and of warfare and of peace, that I notice as we turn into the parking lot at Château Jemeppe. I cannot believe my eyes. A huge castle, a very tall tower, and an even larger farmstead. Beautifully tended gardens, age-old trees, and a castle moat home to gigantic carp.
Once inside I go from surprise to surprise. We are permitted to enter and see whatever we like, in the castle as well as the farmstead. And so we do, without any timidity. First, in the castle itself. We cross the moat and as we cross a worn stone threshold we wonder, how many pairs of feet went before, throughout the ages? Across the serene courtyard with hortensias and oleanders, we pass through the wonderful salons adorned with fresh bouquets of flowers, we visit the small old-fashioned kitchen with the small adjoining room for intimate dinners. We have a look at the suites and the rooms, each in a different colour and all furnished with a wonderful sense of style and harmony, the one at least as beautiful as the next. The superbly restored chapel is breathtaking, I cannot resist taking a picture. A lovely image of Maria. Serene calm. Tranquillity. To contemplate, and to fold your hands, if only briefly.

The farmstead exudes a different atmosphere: rustic and cosy. Here again, all rooms are uniquely furnished. We visit the old stables where the horses once stood. Spacious cool halls, still with the original stone floors. How the horses and their keepers must have enjoyed being here. And at night we join others at the table in the intimate restaurant, where the chateau chef Jan regales us with a four-course dinner. The main course: rabbit. So delicious! And there is ample wine to go with it, as I notice the next morning. But that's alright, once in a while; isn't it? 

Two days at Château Jemeppe. A delightful stay in a historical setting. New life on old foundations. It has anyway infused me with fresh inspiration for my next documentary.
Thank you very much, to all of you.

Pia van der Molen
Film documentary maker

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