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Trip Report: 3 Weeks in Northern France - Days 3 & 4

Day 3 – More Loire: Stopped at a boulangerie to get pastries for breakfast. I was very proud of myself as I greeted the woman “bon jour madame” and ordered “deux croissant amande s’il vous plait” then completed the transaction without further response as she rattled off the amount and thanked me. I replied “merci, au revoir” and then any illusions were shattered when I asked “do you have napkins?”

I had scheduled an excursion on the Cher River with the Canoe Company. They were to drop us off upriver and we would paddle downstream and under the arches of Chateau Chennonceau. Turns out it was just us for the first tour, so instead we paddled upstream and under the chateau, then back downstream. It was shorter which was advantageous, since it started to rain just before we got back. The river was so still that there are wonderful reflections of the chateau in our photos. It flows so slowly that the wind from the approaching storm created current that we had to paddle against while going downstream. I stink at paddling but it was lovely to see Chennonceau from the water and people were waving from the windows and taking pictures of us. So now we’re famous.

Next we toured the inside of Chateau Chennonceau. It was pretty and the long gallery was impressive, but I was most taken with the kitchen and the gorgeous floral arrangements everywhere. It was pouring rain but the gardens were very nice, so we tiptoed through the puddles and got some pictures, made a quick stop at the maze, then grabbed a sandwich on the way out and ate in the car.

The weather started to clear so we headed to Amboise. We took photos of the chateau from across the river (notice a pattern) and then wandered in the town center. Dinner was pasta at Via Roma, chicken pomadoro for Kevin and tagliatelle carbonara for me. Then we got gelato and explored a bit more before returning to our castle.

Day 4 – Loire to Carnac: On our drive to Brittany we toured the gorgeous Villandry Gardens, which we enjoyed more than expected, and made a quick photo stop at Chateau Usse. Then it was on to Chinon where we took pictures of the fortress from across the river (yet again) and climbed up the hill through the medieval town to see the outside of the fortress up close.

We like to take a cooler for coke zero and water when we road trip, but hadn’t been able to find bags of ice until here at a Carrefour supermarket. We’d had our fill of chateaux and we had skipped lunch, so we grabbed a bite at McDonald’s. I make a point of eating at McDonald’s and eating pizza on every foreign trip we take. It started years ago in Peru. I even had pizza in Tibet.

We drove a little over 3 hours to Carnac where we did our nightly town wander, found a boulangerie for in the morning and ate crepes for dinner, one bacon and one raspberry, at Chez Marie. We stayed at Hotel les Alignements, which actually was a small hotel.

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Carolyn, you could say, "Et deux Serviettes aussi, SVP." Yep, you're getting good. And your accent must be good enough for the boulangerie lady to understand you.

Loved your Chateaux report; I last saw the Loire in 1991; stayed at Chateau de Pray in Amboise, that lovely one facing the river. Oh it was special. Loved Chambord too; also saw Chartres cathedral on that trip.