Around France

Royalty in Uzes: Up Close and Personal

There’s not much that I love more than hobnobbing with royalty. Even if it’s from a distance.

Each year Uzes hosts a musical event during the summer that brings in famed artists from around the world. This year, the festival brought in French royalty — Prince Albert of Monaco. All in all, there were eight princes and eight princesses attending the festivities.

French royalsPrior to the Prince, his family and entourage arriving, the town was abuzz with where the royals were going to stay. Would they visit with the Duke at the Château de Duché? Or would they be hanging out at Maison d’Uzes — the fancy hotel in town? Oh … the suspense.  I learned it was, in fact, the Maison d’ Uzes, right around the corner from where I live. The royal guest were brought into Uzes by helicopter, according to Midi Libre,  and they were guarded during their stay by the gendarmerie d’Uzès.

French royals

Guards at the entrance to the Château de Duché

Before I continue the story about my “meeting” with the nobility, I’ll admit I’ve been trying to catch sight of the Duke of Uzes, Jacques de Crussol, since I’ve lived here.

After all, we are neighbors. As luck would have it, when my friend and author, Patricia Sands, was here visiting, we had a “Duke sighting.” We were walking to the market and passed by the garage door of the Duché. There a handsome man, who looked very “Duke-y,” was having an animated conversation with someone who could have been his driver.  Trying not to be noticed, I snapped a photo, supposedly of Patricia, who was standing between me and the “Duke.”  Here’s the shot — without Patricia.

French royals

French royalsMy next “Duke-sighting” was on a visit to the Duché during the European Heritage Days last September. On those days many cultural landmarks in France are opened to the public at free or reduced prices. While touring through the rooms of the château, I saw the quick movement of someone heading toward the back stairs. It was the Duke. Excuse the bad image but I was surprised to see him and I didn’t have my camera ready. Perhaps he was in a hurry because I accidentally blurted out “there’s the Duke!” when I saw him, loud enough for everyone to hear. So much for protocol.

Back to the story about Prince Albert

Prince Albert of Monaco and Jacques de Crussol are “cousins” of sorts. The two royal houses were linked by the marriage of Anne-Hippolyte de Grimaldi, Princess of Monaco, daughter of Louis I, to the 7th Duke of Uzes, Jean-Charles de Crussol. The royal bond was broken, tragically, when the princess died in 1700 giving birth to twins who did not survive.

On his first visit to Uzes, Prince Albert II was treated to a Nuits Musicals concert in the courtyard of the Duché which is where I was lucky enough to be at the same time. When I made plans to attend the event, I had no idea there would be such illustrious guests.

French royals

Here’s a slideshow of the evening, the music, the people and the regal atmosphere.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

French royals

The LES SIECLES ROMANTIQUES choir and orchestra playing the national anthem of Monaco for the royals.


8 replies »

  1. Deborah that was just great and you got some good pictures to go with the story. It was a wonderful evening and the concert was just great with all the royalty up on the balcony to observe the performance and all of us below.

    • We have so many amazing experiences and opportunities here, don’t we? Glad you and Paula are here to share the fun.

  2. Oh you do hang out in illustrious company, Deb! I recall our hilarious attempts to discreetly snap the Duke’s photo … hoping it was really the Duke! What a great day we had!

    • It was such a fun day, Patricia, and the beginning of a great friendship. So happy we’ve had a chance to visit together since then. I’m looking forward to your next trip to France already! Bises

  3. Bonjour !
    The picture of Prince Albert; did you use a powerful zoom on your camera of were you that close to him ?


    • Would you believe that photo of Albert was taken with my iPhone? I wish I had a better camera, but the iPhone is just so easy to carry around.

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