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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Monday 13th September

Bonjour mon amies

It’s never too late... To take a trip

Change the scenery of your life.

You don’t have to travel far.

It’s an adventure.

A chance to refresh. To Learn. To compare.

To meet new people.

To make new friends.

To view things anew.

To grow.

“Travel broadens the mind” Proverb

Graham was convinced that our GPS should work and so after resetting it, voilá -it sprang into action! We added destinations and were ready to put it to the test.

We have now visited 3 Chateaux in the Loire Valley - all unique and magnificent. Tapestries, furnishings all from the renaissance period 16-18th Centuries. I was especially surprised to see the curtain fabric and wall coverings in a couple of the bedrooms– very “French General” in type. (French General is a Moda range of patchwork fabrics recently available in Australia) Considering the age of these “originals” I was blown away.

Wall paper and curtain material
Villandry has the most amazing gardens. Over 85,000 vegetable plants, 400 roses and 125,000 other platings along with 1200 lime trees. 10 gardeners are employed to manage these spectacular gardens. The chateau itself is a bit tired but well worth the visit. Azay-le-Rideau was the second chateau we visited yesterday and this chateau is nestled away behind quaint little houses.The château of Azay-le-Rideau was built from 1515 to 1527, one of the earliest French Renaissance châteaux. Built on an island in the Indre River, its foundations rise straight out of the water.
We had our first experience of driving down the very narrow streets, often only room for one car at a time. Surprisingly they are two way traffic streets with signs to give way at various points along the street. So far so good with the driving,seems to get easier every day.

Today we set of for Chenonceau, the third of our chateaux in this area. To our surprise, there were many, many tour buses and cars already in the car park and people everywhere. Certainly this was a very popular chateau. We headed through the entrance and along a beautiful treed archway and made our way to the chateau. Chenonceau is by far the best of the three in terms of restoration and furnishings, tapestries and floral arrangements. This is a very grand chateau on the  River Cher.  A huge chateau with super huge bedrooms, a mammoth kitchen, sculleries and staircases to a further two levels. Spectacular, ell preserved tapestries adorned every wall. Due to the immense number of people, I thought I would be lucky to get any decent photos but patience is the key. We wandered from room to room in total awe of the surroundings. What a magnificent castle, surrounded by water. Beautiful rose gardens, a maze and vegetable gardens too. Some of the largest pumpkins I have ever seen. Not to mention the many other surrounding buildings. 

This chateau was our favourite by a long shot and we’re glad that we’d left it to the last to see.

The weather has been great. Overcast and some rain yesterday morning but lovely sunshine in the afternoon. Today beautiful sunshine all day about 24°C.

My French is improving everyday and communication is quite easy really. Most people in the  hospitality industry speak English too, but they are very happy for us to try.  This is a wonderful country for a holiday!

Inside the maze at Chenonceau


Au Revoir... until next time


  1. Wow! Looks and sounds like you have made a great start to your 'aventure Francais'. Maybe this will be the best holiday ever? Gxx

  2. Hey Mum & Dad! Sounds like you are having a wonderful time over there! and you are having some nice weather too! :) We're having an awsome time here in America, lots to do & see! If you get time, have a look on my facebook page & photos! Love you both, Love Kate xoxo

  3. Hey Mum and Dad nice to see your having a good time.Them pictures remind me of the placemats that we used to use for Sunday roasts, looks pretty amazing.
    Have a nice trip xoxo Ben