In the center of town, the Château de Saché houses the Musée Balzac. If you've never read any of Balzac's "Comédies Humaine," you might find little of interest in it; but if you have, you can return to such novels as Cousine Bette and Eugénie Grandet with fresh enthusiasm and understanding. Much of the landscape around here, and some of the people back then, found immortality by being fictionalized in many a Balzac novel. Surrounded by six acres of gardens, the present château, built between the 16th and the 18th centuries, is more of a comfortable country house than a fortress. Born in Tours, Balzac came here—to stay with his friends, the Margonnes—during the 1830s, both to write such works as Le Père Goriot and to escape his creditors. The château's themed exhibits range from photographs and original manuscripts to the coffee service Balzac used (the caffeine helped to keep him writing up to 16 hours a day). A few period rooms impress with 19th-century
charm, including a lavish emerald-green salon and the author's own writing room. Be sure to study some of the corrected book proofs on display. Balzac had to pay for corrections and additions beyond a certain limit. Painfully in debt, he made emendations filling all the margins of his proofs, causing dismay to his printers. Their legitimate bills for extra payment meant that some of his works, best sellers for nearly two centuries, failed to bring him a centime.