While the castle attracted 1,150,000 visitors last year, it will be half this year due to the health crisis. For Jean d’Haussonville, general manager of the national domain of Chambord, “it’s a very trying year but we have confidence in our ability to bounce back”.
franceinfo: Are visitors back this summer?
Jean d’Haussonville : Visitors are coming back, but still fewer than last year, and even a little more than in 2018. We will not catch up. But we are reassured because we see that they enjoy coming back and still in numbers. Last year was our 500th birthday, so we had a million 150,000 visitors. This year, in fact, we will do half of it, so it’s a very trying year. But still, we have confidence in our ability to bounce back.
Do foreign customers take an important part in the usual attendance at Chambord?
Our heritage is one of the most beautiful heritage in the world in France. So, it’s really a face of France, a way for France to shine. Tourism is economic, but it is also political in reality. It makes you love the country. To be deprived of this international attendance is a real ordeal for most of the important heritage sites. I am thinking of the Louvre, Versailles, the Musée d’Orsay and of course also Chambord. We still have 40 percent of international attendance, but we miss it sorely today.
Who is missing this summer?
Americans, Russians, Chinese, but our first contingent, in general, are the Italians. They like the Renaissance, the Loire Valley and, in fact, we see that Europeans circulate less. We see Belgians, Germans going a little south, but we don’t see Brits. And so no, we do not find our customers. On the other hand, the French individuals, families come a lot more.
Emmanuel Macron met on Wednesday in Chambord young people participating in the operation Quartiers was 2020 …
It opens up attendance a little to young people from neighborhoods who, in fact, never have the opportunity to leave their neighborhood, so it’s extremely important. This operation touched us a lot with the Chambord teams because we saw, through the eyes of young people, the beauty of the country. In fact, when you come to Chambord, you have a kind of immediate impression of how beautiful things are and it gives you a kind of confidence in life. You finally say to yourself, this country is beautiful and there is a kind of trust in human beings. And then, it also made us even more aware of a role played by heritage, it is that of republican integration, it is learning about the history of the country. A lady told us: “Me, I was thinking of coming to visit a castle and I realized that it was the history of the country. It is my country. I have a French identity card. I have to I am learning the history of France “. I also tell myself if Chambord and other places are useful for that, we haven’t wasted the day. We are very happy to participate in that.