Thursday, 29 July 2010

Of Châteaux And Gâteaux

Our now done and dusted summer holiday was spent in a new to us area of France. This year we ventured further south to the Loire Valley. This region appealed especially to himself who who has long wanted to see some of the famous châteaux. Our comfortable cottage turned out to be in a central location ideally situated for touring the area. What is more we had access to a television set for the all important World Cup Final. The weather was fine if a little too hot and humid for me - a new word entered my French vocabulary ~ 'canicule' i.e. a heatwave. Fortunately a cracking thunderstorm eventually cleared the air and made being a tourist more comfortable. 

So the stage was set for a week of château visiting ~  images of endless spiral staircases, tapestries, four poster beds, paintings and statues as well as whirlwind of historical facts are still circling around my brain. First there was Chenonceau which was the finest of the bunch according to the literature I had read beforehand. This turned out to be the biggest disappointment. Not only was it unbearably crowded (maybe our fault for visiting on a Sunday afternoon) but part of the chateâu was covered with scaffolding and tarpaulins - what a shame. Himself and I agreed that perhaps the best method of visiting would be by boating under the arches which span the river. Still there was a most interesting kitchen garden to stroll in afterwards ~






Then on to Amboise from its lofty perch high above the river ~



Moving on to Valençay where we were treated to a most entertaining open air performance ~ 






This was followed by a trip to Chaumont-sur-Loire which was the most enjoyable visit for me. Now I wonder if this could be because the chateâu is the setting for an annual garden festival. More of this magical setting and the garden festival in another post ~




From Chaumont to the smallest chateau we came across all week - the chateâu at Fougeres-sur-Bievre  ~ 




We rounded the week up with a visit to Chambord which is the largest chateâux of the Loire Valley  and according to our French host the most French of the chateâux. We gave up trying to count the rooms ~ 


   



Of course such dedication to the cause required some energy and what better to fortify us than consumption of gateâux - as usual France did not disappoint ~ 






10 comments:

  1. Anna:
    What a wonderful vacation this must have been, filled with not only the most amazing chateaux, but as the title of this post suggests [not to mention the mouthwatering photos] some delectible gateaux! Suddenly the 'Cherry Garcia' ice cream before me looks rather sad and paltry in comparison! Thanks for taking me along on this wonderful trip!

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  2. Anna,it is on my wish list to visit some castles or a chateau or two. I am very interested in seeing how people lived in the past.

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  3. Oooh, aaah! The castles really are magnificent. I'm sure I mentioned before how much I regret not having gone to France when I lived in Stuttgart! And the cakes... oh yes. Yes, oh yes. *Sigh.*

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  4. Dear Anna, I loved the title of this posting - such fun. Your holiday, despite the humidity, does appear to have been most enjoyable and you certainly seem to have covered a great deal of ground. I remember Chambord for its quite extraordinary double staircase - but I am now going back to the 1970s. And as for the cakes, well...!

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  5. A perfect ending to a fabulous trip, Anna! I am glad you were able to do your part! What magnificent architecture, but I really liked the veggie beds by the greenhouse best. :-)
    Frances

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  6. It sounds like you had a great trip, Anna! I am looking forward to your future post on the gardens! These wonderful chateaus are inspirational;many of the architectural details have become popular, on a much smaller scale, in newly built homes in my area.

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  7. I've been to all these chateau except for Valencay. I did like the garden festival exhibitions at Chaumont-sur-Loire. Did you not get to Villandry? That was my favorite!

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  8. Hi Anna,
    What a lovely trip you seem to have had... castles and cakes and gardens too. Love your play on words. Great kitchen garden. Those deserts look fabulous.

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  9. I spent a week alone after college touring the Loire Valley--what memories you brought back! And I remember the desserts being fantastic, too. Is it just the Loire? No....

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  10. Oh, I'm so jealous Anna! I'm still trying to catch up and what a captivating post to read! BTW, I loved the butterfly post too.

    The heat can make a visit much more intense and tiring, but it appears you really were able to get a real flavor for the area (in more ways than one!).

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All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at : thegreentapestry@gmail.com

Namasté

- Anna.