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A Chateau kind of Day


The Loire Valley is famous for its Chateau, so what better way to spend a day than visiting some?

Breakfast at the apartment then into town to get a coffee, which wasn’t bad. Cool little patisserie that will get more of our Euro’s before we leave here.

Our first visit is to the largest and most popular, Chateau Chambord, about one hour from Amboise up the river.

You enter down a long boulevard flanked by forest before opening up to glimpses of what was to come.

This is one impressive structure, huge by any measure. It dominates the horizon surrounded by water, manicured gardens and 5,400 hectares of forest, all enclosed by 34kms of stone wall.

Super impressive inside and out, this Chateau is regarded as the international symbol of French Renaissance and is the most visited of all the Loire palaces.

Tick!

Second visit was about 50 minutes away down some interesting single lane roads, encroached on by fields of maze, wheat, and corn, and in one spot the most beautiful meadow of sunflowers you would ever dream of.

Stop, multiple photos, then off to the slightly more modest, yet no less impressive, Chateau de Chenonceau.

Once again set in beautiful gardens with plenty of water around, this 16th century treasure was built for King Henri II who donated it to his “favourite lady” but surprisingly upon his death his widow, Catherine de Medici, took it back!!

The arches over the water are supposedly inspired by the Ponte e Vecchio in Florence, birth place of Madame!

Another beautiful place, well worth the admission price.

Twenty minutes back to Amboise for a quick regroup, then maybe a glass of rosé before tackling the third of our castles for the day, Chateau D’Amboise.

Of all the Chateau today this was the one with the least fanfare not having the same imposing presence as the other two.

Set in the middle of town up on the hill it doesn’t shout “wow”, but once you get inside the walls it’s actually pretty good…no really good.

The Buildings hug the walls and the rest is taken over by lovely gardens and grassed areas.

Probably its biggest claim to fame is that it’s the last resting place of Leonardo Di Vinci, who lived his final three years in Amboise and was entombed at the St Florentin church in the Chateau grounds.

The church was demolished in 1806, oblivious to the tourist dollar, and his bones were transferred to the St Hubert’s Chapel in 1871 set on the edge of the stone wall, high above the town. A statue of Di Vinci marks his original burial spot.

Leonardo does tend to dominate thoughts down at tourism central, but more of that later!

The highlight of a wonderful visit was a parade of colourful costumed characters, who were most generous with their photographic time, making the most of the scenic vantage points.

We weren’t sure if we just lucked upon this display, or whether it was a regular gig, but impressive it was.

Poor Rachael, dying of hunger while I ran around taking way too many photos, just hoping one or two will work out!

Finally we leave what was a terrific finish to Chateau day.

Nothing more for it than to go to the fancy chocolatier for dessert purchases, then head back for a home cooked meal, and a glass or two of excellent local wine, and call it a night after a very busy day.


All Chateau’d out!

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