Monday, July 21, 2008

Paris: Day 24 - Chartes & Loire Valley trip

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel. It was continental and interesting. The croissants were some of the best that I have ever had! There were a variety of breakfast items. They even had tiny packages of Nutella which we love (especially Phil) and a variety of meats and cheeses.

Allison at breakfast

After breakfast we checked out of the hotel, loaded our luggage on to the bus and walked back over to the castle of Azay-le-Rideau that we has seen the previous evening on the light tour. This castle was the smallest castle that we saw during our weekend travels. It had a chateaus look to it a little like the castle at Blois that we had seen yesterday but it was much more fairy tale looking. It had a moat! For some reason I love moats! We got to walk around on the inside and see the rooms and the architecture. We only had a half hour to look around and then we had to go find the bus.

Philip & Allison in front of the chateau at Azay-le-Rideau

the chateau & its moat

Our next stop was Villandry. We were able to tour the beautiful renaissance gardens here as well as see the castle. The gardens were amazing. There was a garden devoted to music, love, there was a maze, a water garden, a medicinal garden, and a kids play area. We wandered around the gardens and took Luke to the play area and let him crawl around in the grass! He had a fun time crawling and feeling the grass. We had a great time and it was very relaxing to just enjoy the beauty and the weather was wonderful. It was sunny but in the shade it was nice and cool! We sort of lost track of time and had to hurry and grab a sandwich for lunch that we ended up eating on the bus.

Alli & Luke with the gardens in the background

the Renaissance gardens at Villandry

Allison & Luke overlooking the pool and chateau at Villandry

Luke playing at the playground

Alli in front of the chateau

Alli & Luke completing the maze

Allison & Luke at the playground

Luke kicking in the pea gravel

We had another hour bus ride to Chanonceau. This castle was unique in the fact that spans the Cher River. During WWII the castle was both in Occupied France and Free France at the same time because the Cher River was the border. Again everything was wonderful, amazing, and beautiful. We had two hours to walk around and see things. There were huge beautiful gardens, a farm, and another maze. You could rent row boats and row around underneath the castle. It was very picturesque. The rooms were furnished and there were the most beautiful fresh flower arrangements in almost every room! That was my favorite part as the castles were all starting seem the same to me:) Also, we were getting sot of tired and I was carrying Luke in the sling. I am so sore today! We did a lot of stairs this weekend!

the chateau at Chenonceau

Allison & Luke at Chenonceau

all of us at Chenonceau

Our last stop was Chambord. Charmbord has the largest castle in the Loire Valley. It was actually constructed as a hunting lodge. It covers 21,829 sq. yards! It has 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, 13 main stairs and 70 backstairs. It thought that Leonardo da Vinci drew the plan for the castle as he was a guest of the King. It is know for its double spiral staircases. You can go up one staircase and pass someone going down but never meet! This was a HUGE castle and there were a lot of dangerous stairs here as well. We enjoyed walking around and learning about the history. In the gift shop we purchased a book that has all of the Loire Valley castles so that we have information about all of the castles that we saw in one book so that we can show Luke someday!

the Chambord chateau

Allison & Luke on the double spiral staircase

We grabbed sandwiches to go again. I had a ham panini with tomato, basil and mozzarella and Phil had chicken on a baguette with lettuce and tomato. Our bus departed at 6:15pm and we were headed back to Paris. We really had a great bus driver. He was so friendly and nice. He spoke only French but he said "good bye" to me when we got back to Paris. He did a good job of getting us to all of our destinations on time. He also impressed all of us with his parking skills at the hotel in Azay-le-Rideau. We were so glad to be back to Paris. Even though it was a busy weekend we were really glad that we went. It was fun!


Guppy & the Worm said...

I love moats because it sounds like boats and boats are what belong on moats (small ones)...more food info and lots more photos of my grandson in the pebbles of France!

Guppy & the Worm said...

HI, The castles were so very interesting and so-o enormas!! I really loved seeing the beautiful gardens! I cant imagine seeing them in real life. They look like they go on for miles and miles. I'm glad we were able to visit by webcam today..... Love to you all!!! MOM

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