The first weekend Mom and Dad were here we set out on our very first road trip since moving to Paris. Destination: the Loire Valley. With the help of our GPS and a good driver (Mark) we covered some gorgeous ground .
First stop was Chartres, which is only about an hour from Paris and best known for its cathedral, built (primarily) between 1193 and 1250. It is so massive I couldn’t get a good photo of it, but here is one small angle on it.
The cathedral is undergoing a massive restoration project, including cleaning the inside and outside of the building. The portion of the inside that they have cleaned is dramatically more brilliant than the rest of it. I hope to go back when they have finished (assuming it will happen within the next four years) so I can see the cathedral in all its glory.
Even the dirty windows were amazing.
The village of Chartres was charming, very hilly with narrow, winding streets.
Next stop was a chateau called Cheverny, which has been in the same family for six generations. The owner likes to hunt, and the chateau is well-known for its hunting dogs, kept in a large kennel close to the house. Apparently they put on quite a show at feeding time, although we did not get to see it.
Move over, Rover.
We spent the night in Tours, which was a sweet little town with a parking problem. Our hotel was spotless and new but our rooms faced onto a street lined with bars and restaurants, which were hopping into the wee hours of the night. Fortunately, we had enjoyed cocktails before dinner and then bounteous wine with dinner, so the conviviality of the street did no more than momentarily rouse me from sleep a few times.
Bar across street from our rooms. I don't think there was one "tranquille homme" there the night we were sleeping!
Sunday morning we drove to one more chateau, a very impressive place called Chenonceau, which is built over the Cher River. Chenonceau is one of the few chateaux that was built purely for pleasure rather than for any defensive purpose . In 1547 King Henry II gave the chateau to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. She lived there, presumably quite happily, until Henry died. At that point Henry’s wife, Catherine de Medicis, finally was able to kick that tramp outta there. Catherine added the gorgeous three-story gallery on top of the bridge spanning the river.
I took too many pictures, but will show you the best ones.
The lovely chapel survived the Revolution "looters", who were looking for anything royal or religious to smash, because it was filled with firewood!
A few if the 16th century floor tiles still remain.
200 foot long gallery which spans the river. I loved the slate and limestone floor, which witnessed many grand banquets.
Beautiful little window overlooking the river
The kitchen was amazing.
Now we’re going to play a little game. Guess which flower arrangement is actually from my apartment and not Chenonceau?
The gardens were abundant and beautiful. The formal gardens were at the front, and the cutting and vegetable gardens were at the back. Here are a few (of many) pictures of both.
And here are your happy tour guides, Madame and Monsieur Mai.
This would be the madame
And this her happy husband.
Note- Martha was nominated to stay home and take care of the dog while we enjoyed this little outing. She was a good sport, even after waking to a note from me that read something like this:
Good morning, Sunshine! Sawyer just ate the three chocolate Eiffel Towers I had bought for Mom to take back home. He is locked up in the kitchen. He will probably have intestinal issues today. Have a great day!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
The girl is a saint.
The dog is a sinner.
He never exhibited any symptoms of distress, but I’m hoping he suffered in silence.