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Aug 12th, 2011, 08:28 PM
  #6
travfirst
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 296
Day 2 Amboise - Château Royal d'Amboise - Blois

After a nice breakfast we visited the Château Royal d'Amboise http://www.chateau-amboise.com/, but first drove to see it from across the Loire. We found a nice spot to view the chateau and the bridge next to a small park where you can safely leave the car for a few minutes.

We all enjoyed the Château d'Amboise, its grounds, Chapel of Saint-Hubert (the final resting place of Leonardo Da Vinci), and the nice views of Amboise from the chateau and its property.

The streets near chateau looked lively and cheerful. We strolled to see the Château du Clos Luce http://www.vinci-closluce.com (this is the chateau where Leonardo Da Vinci spent the last years of his life) but did not go inside.
Lunch at boulangerie Au Rendez-Vous des Mignardises (18, Rue Nationale) half way between the Tourist Information Office and the Château Royal d'Amboise. We got two sandwiches to share, three crêpes, espresso and berry desert from the display that looked too good to miss.

It would be a good time to take a nap, but we decided to drive to Blois. Parked our car across the Pont J Gabriel bridge. As we walked to the north bank the reflection of the sky and Cathedrale St-Louis in the waters of Loire River were breathtaking. We wondered around Blois for several hours, stopping at the Cathedrale St-Louis, Hotel de Ville, lovely Jardins de I’Eveche, Château, and Maison de la Magie (House of Magic). The Château and Maison de la Magie were already closed for the day, but we saw their six-headed dragon show, which could be fun for kids. I would like to visit Blois again and will consider it as a base.

We found a restaurant in a small square that had something for everyone in our family. DS wanted pizza, DH had something that slips my mind at the moment and Leffe, and I had a wonderful salad with grilled goat cheese and dessert. Le Studio (7, Rue du Poids du Roi, 41000 Blois 02 54 46 05 29). The food was very good.

On the way back to our logging we drove on the north bank of the Loire, made quick stop at the RV parking across the river from the Chaumont-sur-Loire to take a few pictures just as two air balloons were flying past the Château; then another stop at the same place we started the day to take more pictures of the Château Royal d'Amboise - it looked remarkable before the sunset.

We ended day as the one before with a glass of wine and the view of the vineyard at our B&B.

Day 3 Château de Chenonceau – Loches - Chinon

We started the day a bit later then I hoped and by the time we reached the Château de Chenonceau parking lot there were many tour buses. We decided to take the boat tour first. Just 2 km from Chenonceau (Chisseaux if I am not mistaken) a boat takes you on a 45 min excursion, passing under château's gallery. It’s a pleasant and relaxing way to see the château and picturesque banks of the river Cher - not a must but a nice way to admire château’s exterior. Just as an FYI - a part of château Chenonceau exterior was under construction in late June 2011.

Château de Chenonceau www.chenonceau.com is one of my favorites – perfect setting, intriguing history, nicely decorated interior, grand fireplaces, interesting kitchen, pleasant formal and vegetables gardens, small non-working farm, donkeys, and maze. It’s one of most visited châteaux in the area. It can also be reached by train from Tour. To enjoy it fully try to arrive early to beat the crowds.
Lunch: the Chenonceau restaurant was fully booked, and we picked up sandwiches to go from the kiosk near the château entrance.

We headed to Loches, just 30 min drive from the Chenonceau. Loches is one of the best preserved examples of the medieval city in the area with Royal Gate, château, dungeon, and interesting Church of St-Ours dated from 10-12th centuries. Maybe under other circumstances we would’ve enjoyed it better, but it was an unusually hot Sunday afternoon (38C/100.4 F), and with only a few brave tourists the old medieval center felt completely abandoned.

Exhausted from the heat, we stopped at the corner café just opposite the Tourist Office for ice cream, yummy cassis sorbet, and ice-cold sangria. Before leaving Loches we stopped at Jardin Public - a beautiful garden with a nice view of the castle and Église St-Ours.

To escape the heat we took the quickest route to Chinon, stopping only at a supermarket to pick up some water and cold drinks. A/C in a car didn’t work well.

Great meal at Le Cafe des Arts (4 rue Jean Jacques Rousseau) in a square at the center of Chinon. The place was packed. We got two different orders of mussels (both were excellent), salad, wine, and desserts. I was surprised to find just now that tripadvisor’s ratings for this restaurant are very average.

After our dinner we took a public elevator to the château and strolled the streets of quiet Chinon. We found a few bushes with unusual flowers that attracted many insects.
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