Resting in the Loire Valley
Trip Start Dec 27, 2010
106Trip End Aug 15, 2011
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We did a little driving in the area -- mostly to Loches for groceries -- and were in awe of the beautiful villages and communities we saw. "Picturesque" is the word which always comes to mind. One outing we had to make was to Tours, known as "The Garden of France." The main boulevard (Boulevard Beranger) is a beautiful centre of local activity, with its classical French heritage buildings, monuments and its towering trees
We also made an outing to Château de Chenonceau. This is one of over 300 chateaux in the Loire Valley, and one of the most stunning. It is a work of late Gothic and early Renaissance architecture built in the early 1500''s and extends across the Cher River. Stretching out before it are the glorious grounds, which include beautiful gardens, a tree-lined entry and a hedge maze. It had been privately owned but was seized by French royalty for payment of outstanding debts. In the mid-1500's, King Henry II gave the chateau to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who had loved it and installed much of the extensive gardens. When Henry II died, his wife, Catherine de' Medici had Diane expelled and took up residence herself. She then undertook the installation of her own gardens. The Chateau is such a sight -- inside and out -- that we all enjoyed spending a slow, relaxed visit there.
During our down time, we had done some soul searching and come to the realization that our energy and enthusiasm for travelling would not last more than another month. So we fine-tuned our plans and got ready to move on again.