Château de l'Évanouissement
The most intense and most thrilling explore ever. Ever.
Meet the breathtaking Château de l'Évanouissement. It was built in the 1800s in the likes of some good old English taste with lots of Medieval accents. On top of the refined architectural styles it features some of the most amazing mathematical fantasies: it has 12 towers, 24 rooms, 52 windows and the sum of all the stairway treads yield 365. Now I’m pretty sure Sir Stephen Hawking could add up some interstellar propositions about such cosmic equations but we’ve got to stay on topic, n’est-ce pas.
Some devoted nature enthusiast takes a walk on the wild side and spots this fairytale castle. The gardens and surroundings have a deserted feel. He peeks through the windows and the state of the interior hits him. Yup, abandoned. But closed off properly. To proof his epic find our friend posts some exterior shots of the castle on his blog. Little did he know this post would be the start of the mass hysteria...
The existence of this castle is spreading all over the European urbex scene like a virus. Everyone wants to have a glimpse inside. Not only explorers.
Increased level of security. The 'getting caught' versus 'getting out unseen' ratio is 5 to 1. Stories of police squads taking out people with pointed guns is common. Being taken into temporary custody as well. People were being strip searched, cars got inspected, mugshots were taken, reports were made, fingerprints got printed, ... As per today many folks are still awaiting a letter from a lawyer. The originating address? Bad News Boulevard.
Christophe, NeQo, me and a dozen of mosquitoes are residing in the castle’s gardens with a clear view on the entrance. Part of the sit-and-wait-and-make-sure-all-is-cool plan. But an unexpected story unfolds. Three French explorers are being caught and escorted to the police station. In those sheer moments while security took them to the gate we made the craziest decision ever. Let’s do this!
We entered the castle. Doors were wide open. Mouths were wide shut. Hearts were pounding. We were inside for just one minute when a couple of cars approached the castle. People entered. Security? Police? More Frenchies?
They were using the main stairway to get up. We had no other option but finding the servants stairway and use the attic as a hideout. Chop-chop, off we went, in the attic stuffed with antiques and collectibles. We found a ventilation shaft and carefully listened to the conversations below. We figured there were two or three persons. Talking loud. That’s ok. But all of a sudden we hear a dog barking. That’s not ok. They started to scan the castle thoroughly. Room after room, closet after closet, drawer after drawer. And the dog is with them. Crap.
Let’s have a little crisis meeting in the attic, shall we. Our options:
1) Turning ourselves in.
2) The Great (Roof) Escape. This proofed to be a no go because they can lock the door from the inside and we would have been stuck forever.
3) The attic had four smaller rooms that could be used as cover. This also proofed to be a no go because such places are way too obvious to hide in.
4) Let’s hide in a way it’s not possible.
We collected wooden planks, bed frames, a couple of doors and made a small construction just next to the central path of the attic. The idea: if they scan the attic they will look in all the dark corners and hopefully neglect the most visible and brightest part: the central pathway. Because, quite frankly, one doesn’t hide there. And if you do it’s just plain stupid. And that’s what we did. Three guys, face down, covered with stuff. I had to collect a lot of wood to cover both legs and arms. Backpack next to my body. Tripod between my legs. Cellphone switched off. Eating dust. I never felt so close with pigeon shit before. But man, don’t you just love it when a bold plan folds out?
After one hour the people in the castle cleared the ground floor. Half an hour later they cleared the first floor. And the dog was still with them. They’re on the second floor. The volume increases. The dog. Doors being opened, closets being inspected, doors being slammed. Buckle up guys, we’re next.
Two people entered the attic. For some reason the dog didn’t join them. Thank you Lord!
They paused at the central pathway and started a conversation.
“You have found them in here?”, the man asked.
“Yes, in that little room”, the woman replied.
“You want to search the attic again?”, he asked.
“Yes, let’s make sure no one is here”, she swiftly replied.
From my right eye I could see their feet. Just inches away. The voice of that woman was so close that I think my heart skipped a few beats. Sweat was pouring down, and I believe I completely flushed my adrenaline levels for the next few months. They started to search the attic. Looking on top of things, over things, inside things... But never directly on the stuff that's concealing us. After 30 minutes they cleared the attic and went back downstairs. We nailed it, comrades.
We spent a total of two hours hiding in that attic. But we saved the best for the last. Our roof beer never tasted so sweet.
Cheers! To bold plans.