Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Built in 1604 in the Loire Valley in France, the Chateau de Cheverny has been occupied for six centuries by the same family. The Orangerie on the estate was the hiding place during World War 11 for many of France's art treasures including the Mona Lisa.

Today one of Cheverny's most popular attractions are the seventy hounds kept at the chateau for stag hunting. The dogs are a cross between the English Foxhound and the French Poitou, their main assets are their large feet and endurance. The dog's 5 pm feeding time each day is a macabre but fascinating spectacle. Trained to obey by experts, these dogs can stand within feet of a mound of odorous meat, and although very vocal, will not touch the feast until given the word. The hound masters responsible for caring for the dogs know each canine's name and they have absolute control over what is an excitable pack with a killer instinct.

Stag hunting is a popular sport in France. The National Forestry allows the cull of 30 animals each year at Cheverny. Needless to say the French are delighted about the ban on hunting in the United Kingdom and they are more than happy to host the wealthy English hunters.

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