For our final day in France, we traveled to the Loire valley to see the chateaux in that region. We went with Link Paris tours again so we took a train from Paris to Tours where we met our guide for the day. He drove us around all day in his van along with three other couples. I really enjoyed seeing a different part of France...the countryside. But not like the coast, which we saw on our other day trip.
The first chateau we stopped at was Chenonceau, which is known as the Castle of Ladies because of all the famous women who lived here and owned the property.
Chanonceau was my favorite exterior of all the chateaux because it is situated on the river. It's absolutely stunning.
The rooms have all been reconstructed and furnished as they might have looked during the time they were occupied by the various owners.
These kitchens were the only ones we saw out of all the chateaux we visited that day, and they were very cool. It reminded me so much of Downton Abbey with the servants' dining room and quarters downstairs.
If you haven't noticed, there were fresh flowers or plants in every single room at Chenonceau. And they were spectacular arrangements too.
The front balcony of the chateau is open for visitors to look out upon the grounds and gardens.
The next one we visited was Chateau d'Amboise in the town of Amboise. It was one of the first French royal residences. Something I didn't know...Leonardo da Vinci spent his last days here and is buried in a chapel on the grounds.
This chateau is built on the top of the hill above the surrounding town. It has a wonderful view of the town and the Loire valley below.
This chateau has a renown furniture collection from several different time periods.
Inside this chapel (St. Hubert Chapel), Leonardo da Vinci is supposedly buried.
There's tons of history about this royal residence and it was fun learning about some of it as we perused the rooms.
Then, we got hungry and went down the hill to eat at one of those cafes down there.
And what we had was one of the best fish and chips dishes I've ever had. The chips were good, but the fish was amazing. Despite the fact that I've had my fair share of fish and chips in England, this may be the tastiest yet....the fish was perfectly flaky with a delicate, but crispy coating. And that tartar sauce...yum.
Of course, the patisserie we passed on the way into the town left an impression. So, we stopped by after lunch.
And this happened. A double decker chocolate eclair filled with chocolate creme. There are no words.
After lunch, we made our way to the next chateau, Chambord, which was built to be a hunting lodge. A massive hunting lodge. This place was colossal.
It has over 400 rooms. Crazy.
And it is well known for the double helix stair case and Italian-influenced architecture. That afternoon, a storm front blew in and the sky got crazy for a while. We were sure it was going to rain any minute.
And then it cleared up.
Our fourth and final stop of the day was at Chateau de Cheverny. This was the smallest of the chateaux that we visited, but its interior was my favorite.
The family that owns the chateau still lives there, but a portion of the home is open to tourists year round. I loved the furniture and the decor of the house. I love walking through houses anyway, and this one was really fun.
The nursery was especially fun with all the toys and the antique cradle in the back.
This is the room where all the babies in the family had been born and presented after their birth.
The grounds surrounding the house were extensive and beautiful. It would be a lovely location for a wedding or any such event. After leaving the chateau, we took a train back to Paris and began packing our bags to leave the next morning.
I didn't take any photos on our way home (day 9). I guess my camera was worn out by then. Or I was. But we made it home safely after an uneventful plane ride (much like the one on the way over). We were so excited to see the boys after the longest stretch of time that we'd ever been apart from them. We brought them back a few souvenirs and heard about what they'd done while we were gone (got spoiled by grandparents who were amazing to keep them for us).
And that concludes this marathon of posts about our trip to Paris. Whew. It only took me (literally) all summer to post them. Now, I just have to get to all of the summer stuff I've waited to post.