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Trip Report Part IV: the final installment - the Loire

Trip Report Part IV: the final installment - the Loire

Jun 1st, 2011, 06:09 PM
  #1  
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Trip Report Part IV: the final installment - the Loire

So when last we left our hapless yet intrepid travelers they were enjoying brie sandwiches at a rest stop on their way to the Loire River Valley under the skillful guidance of their fearless leaders, Bruce and Veronique of French Mystique Tours. We arrived in Amboise just in time for a brief visit to Clos Luce - Leonardo Da Vinci's last home. While hubby and I explored Bruce and Veronique took the luggage to Chateau de Pintray, the B and B where the four of us would be staying. I have to admit I was tired and wish I'd had more energy at that point as Clos Luce was fascinating, and the gardens beautiful.

Chateau De Pintray is a former chateau, just outside of Amboise, that is now a winery and Bed and Breakfast. The grounds are beautiful and the rooms large and comfortable. Our hosts, Anna and Christian (I think) were really welcoming and gracious, even letting other guests use their computer when they needed to.

We had dinner that night at a wonderful restaurant in Amboise - Parvis - one of our favorite meals of the trip. Another restaurant in Amboise that we ate in our last night was L'epicerie which was also fabulous.

The next day we drove to Fontrevaud Abbeye, the final resting place of Eleanor of Aquitain, Henri II and others. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip - ok I admit it I'm an Eleanor of Aquitain groupie. Humourous part of the day was when the highway we were on near Tours just abruptly stopped, leaving us by a nuclear power plant - but never mind, our fearless guides soon set us straight.

Then on to Chinon, and a visit to the ruined, but skillfully restored castle, made famous not only by Henri II and Richard the Lionhearted, but also part of the Joan of Arc story. The museum there has some very well done video segments that help one to experience the different historical phases.

We then wandered the ancient streets of Chinon, sharing a wonderful dinner at Gargantua(n?), named in honor of one of Chinon's native sons - Rabelais.

The next day was our chateau day - the beautiful chateau of Blois, a picnic outside of Chenonceau and finally Chambord. I still don't believe Chenoncea is real - Walt Disney move over!

We finished the day back at Chateau de Pintray for a wine tasting with our hosts - fantastic - bought two bottles, all we could manage at that point since I have a weakness for gift shops - to take home.

Finally, sadly, our last day. We drove to Chartres where our socks were blown off by the cathedral - utterly amazed by the exquisite detail. Fittingly we ate lunch at a little bistro with pretty much the only rude hosts we encountered our whole trip. Finished it off with a last cafe au lait at a sidewalk cafe

Then sadly back to Paris and traffic jams and the airport Marriott bidding a fond au revoir to Bruce and Veronique. I will report that the Marriott was very comfortable and a soft landing for the weary and sad travelers. The restaurant was actually quite good - pate and all - but better service than most of the places we ate. and the breakfast was quick and very plentiful and good.

And then the final icing on the cake, after an easy ride to CDG we are waiting in line to check in, 10 people to the front, when soldiers appear, announce a bomb scare and heard us all (several thousand people I'm guessing) into a corner of the departures floor while for the next hour the loudspeakers invited Mnsr Blanchard to return to gate 8 to claim his abandonned luggage. By the end people were practically shouting "just blow the darn thing up". Eventually they let us out, utter pandemonium ensued as the passengers from the different airlines tried to sort themselves out. Made our flight with4 minutes to spare. Easy flight back on US airways, delayed connection in N. Carolina due to thunderstorms, arrived home 23 hours later - greeted by 4 adol. sons, all alive, house still standing - voila - a triumphant trip.

thanks again to all of the wonderful fodorites who guided us with so much wisdom.
lauramsgarden is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2011, 04:53 AM
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So glad you went to Chenonceau! I loved it and had no idea it existed but was luck enough to have chosen a Loire excursion a few years back. We also enjoyed the chapel at the chateau in Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci is buried (reputedly). I actually wish we had gone to Clos Luce but chose a Vouvray wine tasting instead. I think now a visit to Clos Luce would have been better.

Sorry your hosts in Chartres were rude and that Mnsr Blanchard left his luggage unattended!

Sounds like a wonderful trip...thanks for sharing it.
denisea is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2011, 10:19 PM
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One of the best parts about the Loire Valley is that you can go back several times and see completely different châteaux every time.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 4th, 2011, 12:21 AM
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Aren't Bruce and Veronique wonderful?
avalon is offline  
Jun 4th, 2011, 03:23 PM
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^^They certainly are!
FrenchMystiqueTours is offline  
Jun 4th, 2011, 04:07 PM
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indeed they are!

so many castles, so little time....guess we'll have to come back!
lauramsgarden is offline  

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