In the early 1980s, Fleetwood Mac joined a long list of musicians who stayed and recorded at the Château d’Hérouville in France. According to a Fleetwood Mac producer, Stevie Nicks was “miserable” during the band’s time at the castle. Other artists’ time at the castle was marked by paranormal paranoia and cocaine-fueled parties. Here’s a peek into the French chateau, which recently reopened.
Stevie Nicks did not enjoy her time recording at a French chateau
In the 1980s, Fleetwood Mac recorded their Mirage album at the chateau. According to producer Ken Caillat, Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham hated spending time there.
“We got there and Lindsey and Stevie [Nicks] became the biggest babies I’ve ever seen,” he told Tape Op. “It was like, ‘I don’t have any TV. I don’t have anything to do. I’m bored.’”
He revealed that they were ready to go home from the moment they arrived on the grounds.
“Lindsey and Stevie were like, ‘I wanna go home. I wanna go home. Waaah,’” he said. “So we stayed as long as we could, and we finally flew home. Stevie was so miserable.
Part of her misery may have stemmed from the fact that she claims she had a paranormal experience.
“I just sat there and watched as these paned doors, two stories high, flew open,” Nicks told Rolling Stone. “The glass doors opened on a wrought-iron balcony overlooking a wishing well. It was quite dramatic, and the desk went over like whamp! I went into the kitchen, and the people who worked there said it was the ghost of the château.”
A number of other musicians have stayed in the chateau
Fleetwood Mac was one of many artists to stay in the chateau. David Bowie, Cat Stevens, Marvin Gaye, the Grateful Dead, and Elton John have also spent time there. Artists came to the chateau’s acoustics. Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie told Rolling Stone that while the property was “rather beaten-up,” they could use the wine cellars as echo chambers.
The chateau was originally built in 1740 as a staging post in the Roman style of architecture. In the 1960s, French composer Michel Magne acquired the crumbling property and turned it into a residential studio. The property, which sits on 1.7 hectares of parkland, now includes a swimming pool and a tennis court. Per The Guardian, it boasts 30 rooms, some of which held recording equipment, but others had games like ping-pong and foosball. Though several guests described the place as “haunting,” it played host to a number of parties that ended with all the guests jumping into the pool.
Eventually, Magne sold the property, and it sat, shuttered, until 2016. New investors purchased the property with the intention of reopening it as studio space. After four years of extensive renovations, the property reopened in 2020.
Stevie Nicks isn’t the only one to have a paranormal experience at the chateau
According to the musicians who stayed there in the 1970s and 80s, any new visitors to the chateau may have to reckon with some paranormal roommates. Nicks isn’t the only one who claims to have had a paranormal experience in the 18th-century building.
“There was certainly some strange energy in that château,” producer Tony Visconti said. “On the first day, David [Bowie] took one look at the master bedroom and said, ‘I’m not sleeping in there!’ He took the room next door. The master bedroom had a very dark corner, right next to the window, ironically, that seem to just suck light into it. It was colder in that corner too.”
Musician Brian Eno claimed that he woke up every morning to the sensation of someone shaking his shoulder. When he opened his eyes, there was no one there. According to Nicks, the chateau staff told her the ghosts were friendly. While this didn’t do much to improve her time there, she did say that she would have liked to speak with the spirits if they were willing.
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