Day 427: Chateaus of the Loire ValleyApril 17 in France
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!Read more