The Château de Saché is a stately home built from the converted remains of a feudal castle. It was here, between 1830 and 1837, that the French writer Honoré de Balzac wrote some of his finest works in the series La Comédie Humaine, comprising nearly 90 novels, in which he attempted to reflect every aspect of French society at that time.
The château was owned by Balzac's friend, Jean de Margonne, his mother's lover and the father of her youngest child. The writer would often spend long periods staying here, away from his turbulent life in Paris, writing 14 to 16 hours a day. After supper he would sleep a few hours, wake around midnight and write until morning, sustained by large amounts of coffee.
Since 1951, the château has been open as an evocative museum dedicated to Balzac. His small second-floor bedroom has a simple bed and writing desk where so many of his often tormented characters were conceived.
The château was built upon the foundations of a twelfth-century fortified house, of which a cylindrical tower and dry moats remain. The building was successively transformed in the 16th through 18th centuries. It has been listed as a monument historique since June 1983 by the French Ministry of Culture.References:
Stavanger Cathedral is Norway's oldest cathedral. Bishop Reinald, who may have come from Winchester, is said to have started construction of the Cathedral around 1100. It was finished around 1150, and the city of Stavanger counts 1125 as its year of foundation. The Cathedral was consecrated to Swithin as its patron saint. Saint Swithun was an early Bishop of Winchester and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. Stavanger was ravaged by fire in 1272, and the Cathedral suffered heavy damage. It was rebuilt under bishop Arne, and the Romanesque Cathedral was enlarged in the Gothic style.
In 1682, king Christian V decided to move Stavanger's episcopal seat to Kristiansand. However, on Stavanger's 800th anniversary in 1925, king Haakon VII instated Jacob Christian Petersen as Stavanger's first bishop in nearly 250 years.During a renovation in the 1860s, the Cathedral's exterior and interior was considerably altered. The stone walls were plastered, and the Cathedral lost much of its medieval looks. A major restoration led by Gerhard Fischer in 1939-1964 partly reversed those changes. The latest major restoration of the Cathedral was conducted in 1999. Andrew Lawrenceson Smith is famous for his works here.