“I’m super happy to be here for my birthday, it’s magic! says Amélie, 30, all smiles, in front of the Rocher-Portail castle in Saint-Brice-En-Coglès (Ille-et-Vilaine), which has just opened its school of witchcraft to the public. Dressed in a wizard’s robe in the colors of Gryffindor, she holds her boyfriend Guillaume, from the Slytherin house, by the arm. The couple drove two hours for the occasion.
Admission price: 28 euros per person for a visit of about an hour and a half. And 99 euros to benefit (in addition) from the animated dinner and the fireworks. While the castle has struggled to attract visitors since its acquisition in 2016, the 13,000 tickets for the All Saints’ Day holiday event have all been sold.
The Great Hall where the daily banquet is located, the stairs leading to the dormitories, the common rooms, the classrooms… In groups of fifty people, visitors put themselves in the shoes of new students who come to meet their teachers. Lady Pommecreuse, an eccentric botany professor with multiple knots in her red hair, teaches how to make an invisibility potion using “zapota seeds and cochineal eggs,” stern headmistress Ludovica Lutterotti with her scythe Eastern European accent, teaches his audience the “Apostofina” spell, and the divination professor, very mockingly, announces the house to which you belong after passing through “the arc of truth”.
Almost like Harry Potter
Because here, no Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin or Hufflepuff, like in the Harry Potter saga. The students of the Breton castle are divided into the houses “Fauvedor, Cerfdelune, Boucflèche and Busarde”. Details that do not escape the fans of the young wizard with the scar: “I came because we like the saga but here it is something else. It’s inspired by what we know but it’s different, there are specific characters and settings. It’s very French, with Breton sauce, we’re in another school! analyzes Florence, accompanied by her 9-year-old daughter Gwendoline, delighted by the activity of looking for owls in the castle.
And if the story presented must be very different from that of Hogwarts, it is also because Warner, holder of the rights to the Harry Potter franchise, contacted Manuel Roussel, the owner of the Château Rocher-Portail, to prevent any plagiarism: “I tried to contact them before the launch of the event to offer them a possible partnership but I did not hear back. In the meantime, my wife has written a script with different characters and animations specific to our French castle. “He claims to be today” in discussion “with the production company and not” in conflict “.
After having spent “more than a million euros” for the renovation of the barn – which became La Grande Salle – and the purchase of furniture and decoration in many rooms, Manuel Roussel is satisfied with the success of his first event: ” It was a risky bet but we are pleasantly surprised. It gives us lots of ideas for the future”.
And the concept of this industrial training is ground to the end. At the end of the visit, the students can – among other things – ask their parents to spend another few tens of euros to buy books on witchcraft, a flocked cape with the crest of the houses of the Rocher-Portail and even a wand made by a designer specializing in wood. Thomas Petitfrère, the craftsman who makes about twenty a day from recycled or diseased wood, wants each stick to be “unique” for each student. Something to delight Emeline and her sister who each get one after negotiating with their dad. Here, it is not the wand that chooses its wizard, but the reverse.
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VIDEO. We went to the school of witchcraft that opened in Brittany and it’s (almost) like in “Harry Potter”
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