Wednesday, November 15th, 2000 Blois, France
Slept in a little bit. Arrived at Chateau Cheverny just as it opened at 9:30 am. Lovely Estate still owned by the descendants of the original builder. It has been open to the public for about eighty years, but the family living quarters have only been open for about fifteen years. Beautifully maintained over the centuries. Many sequoia giganteum trees from over three hundred years old to new ones are all over the huge park on the estate. The Orangrie is still used for meetings and receptions. During WW II, many of the State Treasures were stored there including the Mona Lisa. In the store, Jim had a hard time resisting a landscape tapestry. It would have been perfect in the dining room over the atrium window. But the price was six hundred dollars and he just couldn’t spend that much money!
Left about eleven and headed towards Chateau Chaumont on the Loire River. This was owned by Catherine De Medici. When her husband, Henry II, died she moved into Chenoneceau (considered the best of all the Loire Valley Chateaux) and put the mistress, Diana de Poitiere at Chaumont. Very long walk from the parking area up through the park to the Chateau. We walked fast as we’d arrived at the stroke of noon and the sign said that the ticket office closed from 12:30 to 1:30 for lunch. It was about half mile and all up hill! But we made it! The chateau didn’t close so once we had our tickets we could take as long as we wanted! This Chateau was actually lived in by owners until late in the 1800’s.
Back to the car about 1:30 pm; we ate our lunch standing outside the car! Jim had his last can of tuna! The cheese and bread has worked well except for the mess in the car from the bread crumbs. Drove back into town along the Loire River and decided to spend the rest of the afternoon exploring Blois. The Eglise Saint Nicolas, a very old, large Catholic Church, was very stark; but the small chapel behind the main altar was stunning in comparison. All of the stained glass windows are modern in design as all of the original windows were blown out during WW II. We visited St. Vincent’s across from the Blois Chateau and it only had one stained glass window left after the war. They’ve never replaced the others except with clear glass.
Walked downtown and found several pastry shops and bars where we could get an early dinner. Picked up an English Newspaper and two candy bars for dessert later. Finally about 5 pm we decided on a very clean and smoke free pastry shop. Ate a Croque Monsieur (ham and cheese sandwich) and split a slice of pizza with cokes. Walked around town some more and then back to the hotel by 6 pm. Plan to wash my hair tonight so this is perfect! Leave tomorrow for Paris!