Adventures in the Loire Valley

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loire-valley-10Happy Friday guys! Here’s another installment in our epic Eurotrip.

From Paris we took a train over to Tours (you don’t pronounce the ‘s’ – I learned this one the hard way) and hired a car to drive around the beautiful Loire Valley. This area is known for its many châteaux, beautiful examples of the architecture of the Renaissance period and the Age of Enlightenment. Most of them also have beautiful well kept gardens, with perfectly trimmed lawns and topiaries. Sadly when we were there in winter the gardens weren’t as colourful as they would be in warmer weather, and the skies were overcast for our whole stay, but it was still a beautiful place to visit.

As with our stay in Scotland I felt that most of the châteaux were better appreciated from the outside, but for the ones that we did enter it was interesting to find out about the history and who’s-who of French history, as well as a crash course in the architecture of the period (I still mix up Gothic, Renaissance and Classical). I had fun spotting the symbols of royal or major families used as motifs in the embroidery and stone work, such as the fleur-de-lis. The gardens, particularly of the Château de Villandry, were as beautiful as the castles themselves. We also stumbled across the grave of Leonardo da Vinci, who is buried under the chapel at the Château d’Amboise – I hadn’t even realised that the Italian artist and inventor had lived out list last years in France.

The other drawcard of the Loire Valley is of course, wine, which will be in the next Eurotrip post!

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