Châteaudun, Centre-Val de LoireJanuary 10 in France ⋅ ☁️ 4 °C
We are sitting in the shadow of the impressive Château de Châteaudun (well, we would be if there were any sunshine). Its grey brick walls rise to a neck-craning height, just over the road from the parking de camping cars. It's lower sections are built into the rock and covered in green lichen. They have but a few small inlets guarded by rusting iron bars; the dungeons perhaps? Upper storeys are mostly free from growth and punctuated by tall rectangular windows, some framed in archways and decorated with demure carvings. Impressive as it is, it looks in need of a little TLC. Over the other side of our car park the brown River Loire runs through an artificial basin. A canoe clubhouse perches on the bank and slalom poles hang in place, ready for when the weather warms.
Like its castle, Châteaudun appears slightly run down; plaster flaking from the sides of buildings. On the way in we passed several houses, originally built into the cliff but now dilapidated beyond habitation. We also drove by the entrance to the Grottes du Foulon; a cave system renowned for its geodes (hollow rocks containing crystalline formations). In the case of the Foulon caves, they contain quartz and chalcedony; a microcrystal such as onyx. If we'd have been staying longer we would have visited. We'll have to put it on the 'return to' list!
With Vicky feeling weak, Will set off to explore Châteaudun on his own. It is split into a lower and an upper town. Both are inhabited but the lower is the more modern and busy, with garages and noisy traffic driving through its streets. The upper is more touristy, its main square offering charcuteries and chocolatiers, its old quarter a pocket of history, with characterful, timber framed buildings and high sided stone walls. Cars are absent from the cobbled lanes and a well signed 'circuit touristique' leads you past the domineering historical buildings of the château, a hotel, the old town hall and more. Being the kind hearted bloke he is, Will decided to pay a little back to Châteaudun by having a beer at its old town café - well done Will! 😂 Before leaving, Vicky managed to make it up the steep stone steps and take in some of the sights. The streets were quiet in the feeble light of early morning and a delicate drizzle added to the olde worlde atmosphere.Read more