Bellefleurs – click any image for full size
Bellefleurs is an Elizabethan-styled grand manor house, the grounds of which occupy an entire homestead region. It is a location I’ve visited on several occasions in the past, but it was its recent re-appearance in the Editors Picks section of the Destination Guide that prompted me to suggest to Caitlyn we pay it a further visit.
The house is the design of Indy (India Canning); it is both the seat of the Canning family and home to the Duchess(es) of Ominum. There is an architectural beauty to the house that puts me in mind of Montacute House, the fabulous Elizabethan Renaissance house in Somerset, England, now operated by the National Trust. I gather from speaking to Indy and Lynn Mimistrobell – who is also involved in the region’s operation – this is intentional; Montacute having been one of several places Indy drew on for inspiration.
The house – and the Canning family – is the subject of a richly detailed backstory which is a simply marvellous read, and speaks to deeper elements associated with the region I shan’t go into here. Suffice it to say, never have I come across such a piece for a Second Life location that is so richly interwoven with real events from England’s history. So much so that the text reads not merely as a scene-setting piece of information, but a scholarly review of the genuine history of a noble family, one – as so often was the way at the time – in which intrigue, politics and religion are deeply interwoven. Such the the quality of the writing, I’ll go so far as to say that a visit to Bellefleurs is incomplete without the time taken to read it either via the website or via the book presented in the entrance hall of the house – particularly if you have a knowledge / fondness / love of Elizabethan history.
Whilst Elizabethan in origin, Bellefleurs incorporates elements from other periods – notably the Victorian. This reflects the natural means by which family seats acquire elements and furnishings through the ages, and the Victorian influences mix easily with Elizabethan. There are also more modern influences to be found in both the house and the grounds, none of which are in any way out-of-place.
Within the grounds of the house are formal gardens to the north and south, with a grand water feature pointing to the west from the rear of the house. Broad paths guide visitors through the grounds to places such as the En Garde fencing area, an outdoor dance area and a walk overlooking the western coastline of the region.
To the south of the house, beyond the gardens, sits a mausoleum containing the “tomb” of India Canning. Not that she has passed or anything; it was originally a piece for a Halloween party. But in remaining in place, it offers a hint to some of the deeper aspects of the region and its backstory. However, what these may be is perhaps down to your imagination, how you look upon the portraits of Duchesses (are their likenesses purely down to familial resemblance?) or how you look upon classical / romantic themes around love, loss, life and death. I’ll say no more here, but leave you to your own ruminations; if only for the fact one of the quotes on the capstone of the tomb had me barking completely up the wrong tree, although Lynn and Indy quickly corrected me on that score! 🙂 .
Sharing the region with Bellefleurs is the House Sakura Companion Guild, which also has its own backstory. Located in the sky over the house, it encompasses the more adult aspects of the region – with an emphasis on refined elegance.
It is based upon an amalgamation of the Firefly Companion Guild concept, the Venetian cortigiani oneste and the Parisian demi-monde, House of Sakura is located in the sky over Bellefleurs, where more adult encounters might be had – at the discretion of the Companions of the House (who refer to themselves as Blossoms).
Both Bellefleurs and House Sakura host a number of open social events people are welcome to attend:
- Sunday – 19:30 SLT: Classical Music Salon at Bellefleurs, followed at approximately 20:30 by the After Salon Party at House of Sakura – cocktail attire requested for this event.
- Alternate Tuesdays 19:00 SLT: Toxie Darkmatter sings live at the House of Sakura – cocktail attire requested for this event.
- Thursday 19:00 or 20:00 SLT: the Thursday Dance at Bellefleurs – alternating weeks DJ Dee (19:00) or DJ Maddie (20:00); semi-formal attire requested.
- Friday 13::00 SLT: the Friday dance with DJ Ellie at House of Sakura – casual attire.
- Saturday 14:00-16:00 SLT: DJ Dee’s time hopping weekly party – details via the in-world group; parties are come dressed for the period / theme or as you are.
Bellefleurs house makes for an intriguing visit, and offers a lot of scope for photography and for contemplation. For those with a sophisticated approach and outlook, House Sakura offers a unique environment for more Adult related activities, although as noted, it and Bellefleurs are also both settings for relaxed social events. For those who enjoy a place that give pause for thought and which offers its own story to tell, Bellefleurs can also be just the ticket.
Twist of Fate is rated Adult.