Hotel Saint Jacques
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We begin our day with a city tour of the city of Tours - once the capital of France. There is a University here, and a youthful vibe mixed with well-restored antiquities (of the architectural sort). Our leisurely ramble through town concludes at the City Hall, and a lovely lunch at Cafe L'Univers just across the street.
Our original afternoon schedule called for a short bike trip along the Loire River, but half of the group is not interested ...
... visited the castle many times, and even organized celebrations of special events here. In his will he specified that he wanted to be buried in a chapel on these grounds, and it is easy to understand this desire given the beautiful views of the Loire Valley from this promontory.
After our tour of the Castle we return to the hotel and have a look at the spacious rooms occupied by ...
We bid Adieu to Paris today, with the entire group together for the first time aboard a high speed train (TGV) to the town of Tours in the Loire Valley. We are in first class, of course, and traverse about 235 km in a little more than an hour! Why can't we have trains like this in the US?
We meet Catherine at the Tours train station. She is from the area, and will be our guide for the next six days. She takes charge right away, and is ...
... felt quite bad when he understood why there was a little panic on our part, and discounted the price. Very nice of him. After a relaxed day of happy snapping, a casual lunch, poking our heads into the shops, booking bikes for tomorrow and picking up a bottle of wine and a baguette to have with dinner, and croissants for breakfast tomorrow, we made our way back to our little cottage where we relaxed outside on the terrace with ...
... br> Then it was a quick hop down the road to our last château, the Château de Chambord. What an amazing building. For sheer full-blown architectural splendour, you can't top this. It is by far the largest, grandest and most-visited château in the Loire Valley. Begun in 1519 as a weekend hunting lodge for King François 1, it quickly snowballed into one of the most ambitious and expensive architectural projects ever attempted by a French monarch. By the time it was finally finished around ...