When: 26 May 2018
We hadn’t booked accommodation. AGAIN. It wasn’t the first time we had made the same mistake. We had an idea where we were going to, so the fact that we hadn’t make a reservation wasn’t supposed to be an issue. Or the fact that the place wasn’t available on booking.com. Or that nobody picked up the phone when we tried to call it. Someone must have been there. After all, who on earth runs a chateau remotely? With that reasoning and ignoring all the warning signs we headed to the XVI century Chateau de Beaujeu, located in the middle of nowhere.
It was already after sunset, when we found ourselves on a long tree-lined avenue that led to the entrance gate to Chateau de Beaujeu. The road was bumpy with a few holes scattered here and there. We drove slowly and entered the property through the gate that was left opened by a car that just a moment earlier had departed the estate. In front of us appeared an enormous and beautiful country house. We parked the car and started searching for a reception. Our efforts were in vain. Apart from three abandoned cars, there was no one there. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our dream of staying in a French chateau and find something else. We headed back to the gate that we drove through before and stopped suddenly. We neither expected nor could believe with what we saw. The gate was closed. And it wasn’t a normal gate. It was an electronic gate that needed a passcode. A passcode that we didn’t have.
We were officially trapped. With nervous laughter I started running around the property calling up to anyone that could potentially be in the house. When I realised that my voice wasn’t eliciting any response, I started honking on car horn. That didn’t bring any results either. I began to look around in the hope that I would find some wonderful way to make more noise. A long rope hanging from the front of the house caught my attention. I looked up and noticed a bell suspended just below the roof. I grabbed the rope and pulled as hard as I could. A loud ring spread in the air but still no one replied. With all this stress, the house suddenly seemed to be less serene and somehow disturbingly mysterious. I began to see all of its spooky details. The dusty curtains hanging in each old wooden window hiding the interiors of the rooms. The shutters covered with flaky paint that added to the general creepiness. In the back of the house, searching for another entrance, I walked up massive stone stairs that were crumbling underneath my feet. The dark rooms packed with old furniture and clutter that I spotted through some open windows were reminiscent of scenes from the scariest of movies. As if that was not enough, a flock of blackbirds circled above our heads making bloodcurdling noises.
When I really thought that there was no way out and we would have to spend the night in the car, one of the top windows opened. Our guardian angel (one of the hotel’s guest) gave us the passcode to the gate, and we were free again.