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RS Loire Valley to the South of France-Part 2

This is day’s 3 and 4 my post of our RS tour in May. I’m trying to post the tour as seen and experienced through my eyes;

Day 3 Amboise, Chenonceau, and Chinon
Off to Amboise for a few hours to walk and explore on our own. We visited the home where da Vinci spent the last few years of his life as a guest of King Francois I. It’s interesting but a bit crowded (a theme for today’s scheduled stops). What struck me as most interesting wasn’t the famous concepts and inventions such as the tank and helicopter, but it was some of the lower profile inventions such as the concept for the ball bearing.
In the afternoon it was off to Chateau de Chenonceau, this is the one that straddles the river. Very picturesque but very crowded with school groups. We could have used more time. This is going to be a theme of my only complaint with the RS tours-not enough time in some places. I think back on the RS books and after this trip and in my opinion, it always underestimates the amount of time required. Not everyone on our tour will agree. We were usually one of the last back to the bus-never late though.
We stayed in Chinon at a very nice B and B. The highlight of Chinon for me was the ruins of the Castle. It wasn’t part of the tour and so my wife and I did it on our own. I’m like an 8-year-old boy when I’m in a castle and I had to climb every turret. What blew me away the most though was the graffiti in the dungeon that is preserved and displayed. It is thought to have been carved into the wall by the leader of the Knights Templar while he was a ‘guest’ during the 100 years war. There have been a few posts in the RS Forum lately about idiot tourists defacing historical treasures and I haven’t refrained from commenting about these Village Idiots, but here we are, displaying and celebrating historical graffiti.

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Day 4 Villandry and the Loire
We started the day at Chateau Villandry, this is my favourite of the 3 we visited. It’s famous for its French style gardens. We didn’t have enough time to really tour the interior of the chateau, but it is the gardens that are the show-stopper of this chateau. Unfortunately, it was the 3rd week of May and so the gardens weren’t in full bloom yet, but still spectacular. My favourite moment was in a garden well away from the chateau, I heard this buzzing and I was looking around for the source, it almost sounded like there were power lines above. Finally realized it was bees. Hundreds of bees hanging out in the flowers. I’m not usually the type to get all philosophical about something like that, but it was so cool just to stand there quietly and listen. In the afternoon we were off to Azay-le-Rideau. We spent a couple of hours touring through the house and then wandered the gardens a bit. These gardens were an English style instead of French. Imagine St. James Park near Buckingham Palace, whereas Villandry gardens were like Versailles.

I’m glad we visited the Loire Valley, but honestly, I have no need to go back.

Days 5-13 to come on a new post as I write them.

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Thanks, Allan.

One reason we opted for the Eastern France tour this year instead of the Loire Valley tour was what one of our guides referred to as the ABC problem: Another Bloody Castle. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but it doesn't take me long to get castled out.

Looking forward to the next installment!

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Jane, you definitely don't have any 8 year old boy in you. My reaction would be OBABC-Oh Boy!, another Bloody castle!!! My wife doesn't get my enthusiasm either, having said though we'll be in Scotland next Spring and she booked us a night in Barcaldine castle which is said to be haunted-OBAHBC (Oh boy, a haunted bloody castle!)

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4453 posts

Allan, I'd make an exception for a haunted castle.

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1676 posts

Jean, your description of Angers just added to my bucket list. I Loved the way you described Nice. My stumbling prose will be no match for yours when I get to my Nice segment.

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700 posts

Allan- your review is great. And Part 3....... ? You think we have patience around here. LOL
And thank you for your Reports! Well done.

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1676 posts

Allan, I'd make an exception for a haunted castle.

Me: I hope we see the ghost.

My Wife: There's no such things as ghosts.

Me: We should book the room where the ghost is said to haunt.

My Wife: No, what if the ghost shows up that will be creepy.

????

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1676 posts

And Part 3....... ? You think we have patience around here. LOL

Part 3 is published. I'm hoping to do Parts 4 and 5 in the morning.