From the perspective of a female foreign exchange college student from America:
Our tour guide insisted on standing us out on the lawn in front of the building for an explanatory lecture before we could tour the castle. Did I care how much money the French monarchs had “wasted” on this château? Did I care how many mistresses had lived here? This is Chambord! I had waited and dreamed for years and years to actually see this place in person. Completely distracted by my surroundings, I hardly heard one word of the lecture. My eyes darted from the wide expanse of gardens, to the vast intricate forest of pinnacles on the roof. I didn’t really want to go inside. I would have been content wandering about just looking at the details on the outside of the building, but we would be forced to walk through the gaudy, roped-off bedrooms, listen to our tour guide’s discordant voice, and wish we could sit down in the ancient looking chairs. I wished I could just spend a day here, or go to a party here when it was in use! My thoughts wandered through all sorts of scenarios. What would it have been like to actually live here? I looked from window to window, picking out which one I’d want my room to be in. My whole life story as a French princess was already complete by the time the tour guide’s ramble came to a close.
From the perspective of a five-year-old American boy on vacation with his parents:
Why did mom insist that we see another castle? What on earth? I was so tired, so, so, so tired, and we’d been castle touring all day! Did she think that five-year-old boys like me enjoyed chateaus? I thought of the hotel room and all of my toy soldiers, just waiting for an intense battle. My red soldiers would take the high ground on the sofa, and the green soldiers would get trapped on the floor. “Pay attention Henry!” Mom’s voice shook me from my daydream. “Isn’t this view of the lawns just lovely? And just look at all those neat little towers up there! I bet you’d have fun exploring them!” I wished I could explore them. We probably wouldn’t even get to go in them. The urge to climb on the roof like a monkey swept over me. Average tours are boring. I wanted to go on a tour ninja style! What if I went to a ninja school and we got to come here for an outing? We could practice scaling the building and breaking through windows on unsuspecting tourists! Maybe we could even come on a day when someone rich and famous and really evil was there and assassinate them! Ninja life must be really cool!
From the view point of a 54-year-old French female tour-guide:
My gaze swept the group of around 30 visitors. Most of them were Americans, but there were a few from different countries. I liked it when I had really interested people, but this crowd had several kids who were liable to get rowdy. Inwardly, I prayed that none of them would be screaming by the end of the trip. Pushing those thoughts to the back of my head, I continued my explanation of the castle’s history. I tried to ignore the bright sun glaring into my eyes and reflecting off the water as I spoke. “Our Monarchs wasted endless amounts of money on this project, each one adding more it.” How many people listening to this cared about the history of my country? How many of them even knew what happened? My years of repeating this speech to English speaking tourists always held that question, is this worth it? Will these people remember?
From the view point of a 35-year-old Swedish Architect:
I struggled to understand our tour guide’s accented English. To spite taking English for some years, I still fought to understand someone speaking it, especially an older French woman. I tried to focus on the grand architecture, and dreamed of building something like it one day. Being an architect was glorious, but I no one at home in Sweden would ever commission me to build something like this. I had designed buildings for several years, and wondered if anyone in this group could appreciate this artwork as much as I did. Having studied the massive double spiraling staircase in particular for some time, I couldn’t wait to see it in person. This double staircase was every architects dream, practically a legend. Maybe, just maybe some really rich person would hire me to build something this gorgeous for them. I chewed my lip in anticipation, again straining my ears to discern the French accented English. Apparently the tour guide was giving a history of the palace, but I already knew most of it from previous years of study in architectural school. I wished she would talk about the people who built it, not the royals that commissioned it or lived there.