Arrondissement de Blois

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46 travelers at this place:

  • Day28

    Chateau Central!

    October 2, 2017 in France

    We had every intention of riding to one of the best chateaus in La Loire (according to Rick Steves), then Mother Nature got in the way. We got lucky to get 2 seats in a tour van going to three chateaus. Two more than we were planning to visit, but a better option than being out in miserable weather.

    The tour got us discount entry fees and head of the line. LOTS of people want to see chateaus 🎎🎎🎎.

    Each one different but all had incredible stone work, thickness of the walls, tapestries (needed to keep these places warm somehow), classic furniture, artwork and portraits, copper pot collections in the kitchens, huge firelogs, four poster every one.

    Chambord is the great grand-daddy of them all. Largest wall enclosed park in Europe (13450 ac) still with wild boar and deer. Awesome architecture laid out in shape of a Greek cross and a double-helix staircase in the middle. Six times the size of the average Loire chateau.

    Chenonceau...most visited chateau. Impeccable gardens, amazing treed entry, fancy furniture. Housed the mistress of Henry II until he died and his wife kicked her out. Oh the drama 😮. The wife and the mistress each have their own garden. It was used as a military hospital in WWI.

    Cheverny...a more manageable scale and the owners still live on the top floor. Been in the same family for 600 years. Where the Mona Lisa and other Louvre art was hidden from the Nazis during WWII. The owner still hunts on the huge property and keeps 90+ hounds to do this. Lego creations throughout. Not sure where they came from but quite cool.

    Topped the day off with a fancy dinner at a private chateau around the corner...Chateau de Pray. Every dish exquisite. Ended up being an epic meal (3-1/2 hurrying you out of this place!). Healthy price tag ...but it evens out by the minute 😄.
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  • Day28

    Amboise to Blois. 44 km.

    October 2, 2017 in France

    If the worse we get from the rain is seeing more chateaus than planned... that works for us 👌. No rain today until just checking into our place in Blois...perfect timing (if you have to have rain at all 🙄). And the wind (15 - 20 km/hr) at our backs all day 🌬️...gotta love it!

    The hills out of town first thing gets the blood pumping. Might as well work off that croissant right off the bat. Then a nice ride up on the terrace. Fun checking out the burbs.

    Great variety and good paths all day today...huge corn fields, huge vineyards, farming towns, paths along the river, some thru the forest.

    Lunch beside the Loire...below Chaumont-Sur-Loire. Church bells ringing, chateau up behind (UNESCO site but we're chateau-ed out), sun comes out 😊.

    We checked that we had the plastic bottle for the rest of the wine. Yup...good. But a bit need of it. It was a perfect lunch spot 🙄. Nothing a short nap can't take care of 😁.

    Blois is another neat town...chateau right in the middle of things, pedestrian streets , squares.

    While things are going so well for us, at the same time, our hearts go out to those affected by the terrible attacks in Edmonton, Vegas, Marseilles.
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  • Day426

    Gorgeous weather today, time to explore the Loire Valley world heritage site! Basically, there's a 200km stretch of the Loire (France's longest river) that's lined with immense chateaux, vineyards, old towns and other beautiful buildings. It's an incredibly "French" part of the country, and we were both looking forward to the day.

    First stop was Castle Chambord, the largest of the chateaus and the one that started the trend. It was built in the early 16th century by King Francis I, and is situated in some immense grounds as well. It's got a fantastic look to it, with turrets, a keep, bastions and even a moat - but it's all for show, the walls aren't thick and would never stand up to an assault. But it's an interesting halfway point between medieval castles and Renaissance palaces.

    Next we drove downriver (via the town of Blois and its Feuilette branch!), to another chateau known as Chenonceau. This is probably the most famous, and was actually only recently added to the WH list as a boundary modification to the existing site. It's famous as a small chateau that is extended out over the Cher river, a tributary of the Loire. We opted for the tour here (we'd skipped the Chambord one), and were glad of it.

    You couldn't see anything from the carpark anyway! But we spent a couple of hours wandering around here, very impressed with everything. It was home to Catherine de Medici when she was Queen Regent of France, and ruled the country from the study inside the chateau. The gardens were also great as well, as the flowers were blooming and the grass was very green. It was very crowded though, and we were both fearful of what it must be like in summertime.

    We ended up taking quite a bit longer here than expected, so in the end we decided to call it a day. I've got footage (though no talking) for a couple of other chateau buildings in the area, so plenty of material for the video.

    All in all, a great day!
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  • Day7


    June 19 in France

    We stopped for breakfast on our way out of town at the Bigot patisserie. This is on the corner of where we ate dinner the previous two nights. Abbie had been eyeing this place since we arrived and told me at dinner last night that we were going to destroy this place in the morning; and we did try.
    I had this incredible ham and onion omelette... and water. The omelette was very tasty. I miss ice and sweet tea.
    Afterwards, we had some decisions to make. We had plenty of options. I was good and bought one chocolate macaroon for later. Abbie's willpower was not so great. But hey, you have to take advantage before you get back to the land of Hershey's milk chocolate. I took pictures of the chocolate and bread displays but since this app charges for me to add only 6 pics per post, you will have to take my word for it.
    Next stop, the chateau at Chambord. We followed the Loire river NW. The river was high and moving swiftly. I've never seen it before, but it looked like it was higher than normal.
    The size of Chambord dwarfs the other three Chateaus that we saw. Construction began in 1519, the year Da Vinci died. Da Vinci designed the double-helix staircase that is at the center of this place.
    Apparently, this is an engineering feat. There are two entrances opposite each other with no post down the middle. If one were to enter each side and start climbing, they would never meet. They would see each other however in the cutouts of the wall if they kept equal pace.
    It had another kitchen with a fireplace bigger than any closet I've ever had.
    And the salamander king, Francois, has his emblem and initials all over this place, including the ceiling.
    I've also noticed that each chateaux has a chapel. This one is different because it has fabric in the walls and ceiling as opposed to decorative stone.
    And of course they loved their gardens.
    I tend to like the outside of these buildings better and this one is no exception. The roof line, glass, and spires at Chambord were impressive.
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  • Day20

    Chambord - chateau of all chateaus

    August 19, 2016 in France

    Known as THE chateau but probably because it's so flipping enormous! It has 2 intertwining staircases that spiral up the centre of the keep which apparently might have been designed by Leo da Vinci (although no one knows that). The chateau grounds are vast and cover an area of forest around the size of Paris! Crazy! Also interestingly they slept in really short beds back then. Have humans grown a lot in the last few hundred years?!

    Highlight of the day, however, was the free biscuit tasting at the in-house Biscuiterie. Here, we managed to consume a decent breakfast (starting conspicuously, gradually gaining confidence once we realised no one was watching how many you took) and naturally went back for seconds a few hours later.

    Attached is a photo of how to make eating the same food for many consequtive days actually look quite appealing!
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  • Day19

    Mosnes to Saint-Laurent Nouan

    June 16, 2017 in France

    The morning started with a10km pre-breakfast ride. Breakfast was a much-relished picnic beside the Loire - spotted a small hawk or falcon hovering for prey while being dive bombed by swallows. Another 20km brought us to the beautiful Blois with its grey on grey decor, very light grey stone capped with very dark grey slate. Having very fortuitously run across an excellent Award winning bakery (morning tea -choc Eclair and great croissant - best yet!), we grabbed a coffee and proceeded through the old town to the chateau for lunch in the grounds (baguette & quiche Lorraine from said award winning bakery).
    Have I mentioned that this is a non-stop foodie tour?
    We have not toured through any of the chateaux as we did this some years ago. Orleans will be our first new territory.
    Our hotel is a bit away from the main cycle route, and after we crossed the river at Muides we struggled along a very poor section of track (poor, he says? - understatement! It was single track) (as you know she tends to exaggerate) until we could bail out onto the fairly busy road for the last few km.
    62km, 350m climbing.
    Total about 420km.
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  • Day19

    En route to Chambord via Blois

    August 18, 2016 in France

    Not a particularly eventful day, the sun didnt shine so we didnt take many photos! A french man insisted on photographing us by a random bridge as a 'souvenir' and we had an unplanned but DELICIOUS supper of snails, fish, duck, cream brulee (obvs) and a cheese board of Olly's dreams.

  • Day2

    Chaumnt sur Loire

    July 21 in France

    Lots of fun but a lot of walking. Great gardens, very playful and we found a green leaf bug who was then christened Steve! Not sure why! Dinner now before an hour or so drive in the direction of Bordeaux

  • Day67

    Loire Valley

    September 8, 2017 in France

    Where - Chateau de Chambord
    Weather - can't remember - not raining

    We stayed in a place in the Loire Valley, where all the Chateaux are. I mention this because the host had a genuine gypsy caravan in her front yard that they had restored. (She rents it out too if there was a third person in the group). Very colourful!

    There are many Chateaux in the Loire Valley but we decided we would only visit one - Chateau de Chambord - mainly because of you have seen one chateau, you have seen them all. We also had to get to the accommodation in the Bordeaux area by 6pm as the host had to go to work.

    The chateau, like most of these large old buildings, rely on being open to the public to help pay for the upkeep on the property. This one had beautiful manicured gardens, a central double helix staircase, and enormous rooms that would have been almost impossible to heat. It was nice, but I think one was enough.

    We are deciding to slow things down a bit now as we have been on the go for two months now and can't keep up the pace. I got a bit of a sore throat but didn't really eventuate into anything much, but Brad got more of a heavy head cold and sinus making him feel a miserable. On top of that he desperately needed a haircut so he managed to get that as well as the necessary medications to make him feel a bit better. For the next little while at least, we shall just be doing scenic drives as we head to the Pyrennes.
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  • Day10

    Cheverny and Chaumont

    July 27, 2016 in France

    We saw two very different chateaux today. Cheverny reminded us of Downton Abbey complete with a large group of hound dogs ready to go hunting. Chaumont was like a Disneyland castle with a drawbridge and winding staircases. Both had gorgeous gardens.

You might also know this place by the following names:

Arrondissement de Blois

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