Friday, July 30, 2010

Chateaux: Amboise, Chaumont, Loches

Today we found our way much easier than yesterday….we really got twisted around and spent lots of time finding our way; but today we didn’t have to go through the city of Tours since everything was to the East of us. We arrived at Amboise Chateau Royal about 10 am, found parking on the street about ten minutes away from the entrance. We walked up from the village at the base of the chateau and enjoyed seeing an “old friend” again as we’ve been here several times. This is the town where Leonardo Da Vinci spent his final days and he is buried in a chapel built just for him on the edge of the cliff inside of the estate. The chapel is a tiny little thing that has stained glass windows that catch the rays of the sun from all angles, creating images on the stone walls as though they were additional windows.

It’s summer so the tour groups were large and made it difficult to get some really good photos of the rooms inside of the Chateau but I think you’ll enjoy those that I’ve put into the slideshow. The unusually large bed belonged to King Henri II…yes…he was married in yesterday’s Chateau. As we were leaving I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the family on bicycles…Dad was pulling a bugger with a little one and mom had a small bike attached to the back of her bike and the little girl was peddling as fast as she could. However, this family is not camping as they carried very little gear!

Leaving Amboise we headed further East along the shores of the Loire River to the Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire. We’ve been discussing this one for several days; Jim is sure that we’ve seen it before and I was sure that we hadn’t. We parked in the village along the river and walked the long path up to the top of the hill to the Chateau. They also had a large Garden Exposition but we decided to only visit the Chateau and the Stables. By the time we were part way though I was sure we had not been here before. Many rooms were unfinished and a large number of rooms were being used to exhibit art. One artist had tied bells to large timbers and they were set up in many places in the Chateau….very disturbing I thought. Some of the other art was quite good; but I wasn’t there to visit a Museum. Some of the rooms were decorated and very nice. Much of the flooring was parquet and the herringbone pattern in the halls was very unusual….it gave one a sense that the hall had a ridge going down the center! The chapel was beautiful and it was there that I realized that yes…Jim was right….we had been here many years ago. A new area on the estate had a large display of “art”….one was a greenhouse with very large tropical plants; another was a pond with a tree in the center called “reflections”. But the flowers were beautiful and we really enjoyed the varied displays of planned wildflowers everywhere.

Back down the ramp….by the way…we discovered that during the summer months we could have parked over by the new “art” area and walked in without climbing up the ramp. We definitely are getting our exercise today! We enjoyed our picnic lunch before we headed out about 1 pm for our next chateau.

This time we drove Southwest through farmland and forest to a village called Loches, about thirty eight kilometers from Tours. On the way we were driving through a small village named Genille and the church was directly in front of us with the doors open and I could see a beautiful stained glass window over the main altar. I asked and Jim came around, parked and we visited the church to see the windows. They were like large paintings. Most stained glass windows are made up of many small groups or colors…these were an entire window of one subject. I thought you’d enjoy them so I put them into the slide show…our serendipity experience.

Loches was an unexpected pleasure. It’s off the beaten path and has a Cite Medievale at the top of the newer town with an old church with the most unusual ceilings….they were three cones (much like some of the old buildings have in kitchens for fumes to escape)…the building was very moldy…needs some work. We looked at the Chateau but it was very small and we decided instead to visit a small Musee that also had plein air art classes going on in the side yard. This village had many little B&B Hotels and would be a great place to spend a day or two.

Walked back down the hill to the car and since it was already 3:30 pm, we headed the car back towards Tours and ended up picking up the speedway for about the last twenty kilometers; this took us through Tours and made it easier to find the hotel. We did some grocery shopping and then brought the big suitcases into the hotel to see what we can get inside of them. We’ll be in Paris and headed home before we know it and “some things have to go”! I did get rid of the other chair this evening…the clerk at this hotel has been especially nice and was pleasantly surprised when I offered it to him. Easier this time as he speaks excellent English.

It’s been a pleasant evening; the sun was hot under the clear skies today but since the humidity factor is low we don’t mind the sun as much. Tomorrow will be another day of touring Chateaux so tune in tomorrow for another chapter!

1 comment:

Mary said...

oH MY such delious memories your blog brings of visiting Amboise. Of course we did not have all the beautiful outside flowers when we were there so many months ago.