. On a nicer note they had this romanesque kitchen with a cone shaped roof that has 21 little turret type chimneys on it. From the Abbey we got back to the car and the weather turned nasty again. We drove via Montsoreau and Candes-Saint-Martin along the Loire to Chateau d'Rigny-Usse. In those two places just mentioned they had houses built into rockwalls but we didn't get out of the car because of the weather and knowing there are plenty more of them in the Dordogne. We then drove on to the chateau d' Azay-le-Rideau. It's like a fairy tale castle with a nice garden full of streams running through it. Luckily there was a bit of a break in the weather so we could stroll through the garden. After lunch we headed for Chateau Villandry and it's well known gardens but yet again with the weather and it being very early in the season we gave the gardens a miss. For dinner we had booked a table at le Bistro des Tontons in Saumur which was fabulous, especially the mushrooms for entrée.
Heading for the Abbaye de Fontevraud with the sun shining. It's only 15 K's out of town but by the time we negotiated the detour it was a good 20K's. The Abbey is quite refreshing with it's simplicity in comparison with some of the chateaux stuffiness. It all started back in 1101 when Robert d'Abrissel a Breton preacher and his followers settled. From there it gradually expanded and played quite an important role in European history. The buildings and the interior are very interesting but the information you get is very poor, especially when you consider that it was the home of Eleanor of Aquitaine in her last years as well as being her burial place and that of her husband Henry II and their son, Richard the Lionheart. In the post Revolutionary days it was turned into a prison and remained so until 19835. One of the courtyards with a nice garden in it had a modern art installation of a timber frame built with steps going up and down and ramps going nowhere and everywhere but being only hideous