Château de Chenonceau: “What better setting to celebrate the beauty of flowers? »

Château de Chenonceau : « Quel meilleur écrin pour célébrer la beauté des fleurs ? »  

You shouldn’t believe… Chenonceau hasn’t pulled out all the stops because it’s a flower competition day in the residence of Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Médicis. “It’s like that all year round! We flower each room. “While visitors flock in discontinuous clusters, escorted by plane trees dropping weary leaves in their path, Jean-François Boucher is no less so. It is the jury, which consists of absentmindedly greeting a person every two meters, while pacing the famous large gallery-bridge strewn with alliums, nerines, euphorbias and best workers in France very applied.Jean-Francois Boucher. Photo Didier Ronflard
He is the floral scenographer of the Château de Chenonceau, also MOF by profession. His mission in these places steeped in history: to shape with his team between 120 and 150 bouquets per week for the nineteen rooms of the royal residence, this “historical, present, immutable decorum” on which he explains “to be grafted” discreetly without “distorting” it.

“Our wish is to welcome visitors as guests”

During confinement, he took the “full measure” of the castle once deprived of its “essential” flowers. ” It is not the same… “. After, “that things are clear”, he wants to stay in his place: “I participate in keeping the castle alive. But the star is him. »Château de Chenonceau, print room. Photo F.Ch

Autumn is not displeasing to him. “I feel at ease there with these orange and pink tones, these ‘flowers at the end of maturity’, all these berries… If he buys ‘calibrated flowers’ which serve as a base, the rest comes from 60% of the floral vegetable garden of the castle, a precious breeding ground from which he draws “weird flowers” which make the “soul” of the bouquets, thus more airy, less frozen. There are also a few vegetables here and there.At the Château de Chenonceau, from the vestibule covered with rib vaults, the visitor is welcomed by compositions, produced by the floral workshop of the tourist site. Photo F.Ch

The manager of the floral workshop, who lets himself be “guided by the line of flowers and the seasons”, praises the visionary spirit of the curator and owner of the château Laure Menier, who transformed the original food garden into a flower garden. thirty years ago. Even before local, responsible, short-circuit consumption became fashionable.

Chenonceau Castle. Photo F.Ch

School of Excellence

“The old stones sometimes have something scary, heavy”, confides a visitor “from the area”. “With these flowers, it almost seems that the castle is inhabited! What better setting to celebrate their beauty? »
This is indeed the opinion of Gilles Pothier, master of ceremonies of the Grand floral competition and president of Interflora France. “This majestic setting is a real source of inspiration for us who are part of nature. »Chenonceau Castle. Photo F.Ch

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All the more so today, where his art governed by proportions, volumes and balance, is crossed by ecological currents, with supports that are more willingly natural. “On the presentation side, we are more in the emotion than in the technique”.

In France, the return in numbers of foreign visitors

The harmony of colors, which one might think timeless, does not escape the whims of fashion. A few years ago, it wouldn’t have occurred to a florist to mix red with pink, for example.

“Today, we find that fuchsia energizes the heady red. Similarly, at one time, uniting green and blue was a scandal! »Gilles Pothier, master of ceremonies of the Grand floral competition and president of Interflora France. Photo F.Ch

He does not know how to say where this floral passion comes from. Of his pruner father? “The rods are not quite the same! “, he jokes. A “little oblivious”, he says he opened his first shop in Lyon at the age of 18. Then he said to himself that he was going to register for competitions “to reassure himself”.

Stéphane Chanteloube, florist in Riom (Puy-de-Dôme), qualified for the 2023 Interflora World Cup

“But I never reassured myself,” confides the MOF, world champion of florists. “What makes you wake up in the morning that you’re not going to have a rotten day? We never know. If we want to move towards excellence, we need a lot of modesty. I really like this sentence from Aristotle which says that excellence is not an action, but a habit”.

Florence Chedotal

Stéphane Chanteloube will defend the colors of France

Stéphane Chanteloube in full competition, during the realization of an adornment. Photo F.Ch.

Winner of the pre-selection for the World Cup for florists called “Interflora Worldcup”, the Auvergnat Stéphane Chanteloube won his ticket to defend the colors of France in Manchester (England), on September 9th. And if the next world champion of florists was French? Better, Puydomois! This is the challenge that Stéphane Chanteloube will try to take up, he who knew how to conquer the international jury gathered at the Château de Chenonceau at the end of October, thanks to his original and inspired creations. “Party relaxed”, the garden enthusiast threw himself body and soul into a competition which he finally won in front of three other candidates, all MOF (Best Workers in France), like him.Stéphane Chanteloube (centre) when the results are announced.
In his opinion, the difference was made on “a choice to play the eco-responsibility card. In the staging of my table decoration but also of my bouquet, I used only natural products. I learned to weave wicker, and robbed local merchants to stock up on coral lentils which I colored to shape my decor. I also worked more than 400 eyelets to fill my structure. In the end, the flower took over the structure, which is entirely biodegradable. »
Carried by Gilles Pothier and Jean-Michel Mertens, the only two French world champions in the category, Stéphane Chanteloube has only one objective: “bring the cup home!” »
A responsibility that now animates his thoughts.

“I’m already thinking… If I want to win the timpani, I’ll have to be the best among the 25 countries. It’s true that when I was MOF, it was a personal title. There, it’s different, I defend my flag. I really want to wear our colors and our passion for the profession. »

At 44, the Riomois, already crowned champion of France (2011) and MOF (2016) is therefore aiming for the world crown, without a doubt the most beautiful final bouquet.

Carole Eon

Charline Pritscaloff combines feminine floral art.

Charline Pritscaloff. Photo The Republic of the Center
The Loiret florist Charline Pritscaloff thus describes her shop full of shimmering colors and glittery reflections.
It is her “very feminine” side, an adjective she uses to describe her style in terms of floral art. “I’m in the detail, the sewing, the finesse”, considers this young forty-year-old, who has also just competed to represent France at the World Cup, but was not selected.
Today at the head of two flower shops in Orléans, employer of two apprentices and three employees, she looks back on her deserving rise. It all starts with a CAP, then a professional certificate. It does not take long, then, to reach the capital with the objectives of “working with major florists, taking part in competitions”. She spent a total of eight years in Paris.

Charline Pritscaloff is not 30 years old when she embarks on the quest for the Grail: the competition for the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF). She devotes two years of her life to preparing for this great challenge. The craftswoman won the title in 2011 and moved in just after.

“As a MOF, I have a duty to make the medal shine every day. It’s a daily marathon. Customers are even more intractable with us »

The professional confides: “Floral art is my passion. I put all my soul, all my heart into it. She likes to “stage the plant, associate the colors”. She doesn’t have a “favorite flower”, but likes “the flowers of the moment”: “What a pleasure to work with the dahlia when it’s high season, especially since it’s very short. It’s like a very ripe fruit that we crave now! »
Charline Pritscaloff is aware of this “movement” which tends to favor local flowers. “But the reality is that we don’t have any. Or little. Not in our area anyway. And customers are not willing to pay more for them. Me, I study French during the French season. I work with flowers from the Var, but also those from Holland. »
Blandine Lamorisse

Traceability, the next challenge for florists

NATIVE COUNTRY. No one escapes eco-responsibility. Knowing that it was going to fall on them one day or another, the professionals took the lead. Last month, the National Union of Florists pledged to create, by June 2023, a tracking system to know the origin of each stem, down to the name of the producer. “We are a responsible profession”, comments Gilles Pothier, President of Interflora France. However, he does not want “we point the finger at a flower that has traveled 500 km, if it meets the sunshine criteria. If we had to use heating here, we would fit even less into the boxes”. Photo Interflora

Should we put an “x” in Chenonceau?

The castle of “Chenonceau” is located in the town of “Chenonceaux”, a small particularity that always questions. One of the explanations advanced, but not attested, is the following. We owe this spelling subtlety to Louise Dupin, second wife of Claude Dupin, farmer general, who bought the castle in 1733 from the Duke of Bourbon. Holding a salon, she notably received Voltaire, Marivaux, Montesquieu, Buffon, Rousseau… And it is to her that we attribute the difference in spelling between the name of the town (Chenonceaux) and that of the castle (Chenonceau). During the French Revolution, she would have liked to make a gesture to differentiate royalty, of which the castle was a strong symbol, from the Republic, represented by the village. It would thus have changed the spelling of Chenonceaux by removing the final “x”. The anecdote, however, has never been formally authenticated by historians.


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