If you aren’t minded to risk a trip to France this pandemic summer, there is an alternative. And we have the Rothschilds to thank for it.
On a small hill in Buckinghamshire, there is a neo-Renaissance chateau seemingly transplanted there from the Loire valley. Waddesdon Manor’s towers poke out from among the fir trees around it to provide an uninterrupted vista across the surrounding countryside. Familiar with the county from his family’s seven houses there and from having hunted foxes across its fields, Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild purchased the land on which the Manor House now sits from a financially challenged Duke of Marlborough in 1874. Ferdinand wanted a house suitable for weekends away from London and to entertain his many friends and acquaintances, including members of the Royal Family. He hankered after a suitably grand venue for a lavish and civilised life in the country, and he knew an architect who could realise it for him.