France and Chateaux

Bit overcast today and it rained last night but everything very green.

Set off this morning from Macon and started heading towards home.

Virtually every 10kms there was a chateau and very impressive. I started taking photos at the first one but Max said not to bother as they are a dime a dozen and we are heading to a very fabulous one today.

As it was very overcast and starting to rain we decided to take a main road instead of back roads. The area we were passing through was farming area.

We reached the Loire Valley today and I didn’t realise how big it was. When we were here last year cycling through we only touched a tiny bit of it.

We came through Le Montet for coffee then Monrichard

All the beautiful flower boxes with the colourful flowers I saw today had their own reticulation system.

Kept going until we reached Chenonceau which is the place of a very beautiful chateau

We parked the car and got our ticket for entry and just strolled throughout the rest of the day.

It was a very beautiful chateau built in the 16th century on the river Cher. The original fortified castle and mill were demolished and the only thing remaining was the keep at the front. It had a moat and the history behind it all is full of scandal and intrigue. Most relating to kings and their mistresses and one owner was the husband of Mary queen of scots.

One of the direct descendants of the owners was the novelist George Sands.

It was amazing as well as the incredible gardens and herb gardens.

I had to take photos of all the beds as they were incredible and did not in any way look comfortable.

Apparently in the day (14thC) you were expected to receive your guests in bed. King Louis had approximately 1500 beds to receive his guests. I reckon it was because the huge chateaux were so cold they couldn’t get out of bed as it was the warmest place to be.

Below it all was the kitchens that had its own larder, butchery, bread oven and pantry.

It was a wonderful afternoon spent wandering through the chateau, having lunch in the gardens, wandering through the grounds and imagining what it would have been like to live in those days.

  • We saw all the carriages they had and during the 2nd world war it was transformed into a military hospital and had the very first ever X-ray machine and apothecary.
  • In 1576 Catherine de Medici built a gallery over the the bridge to be able to hold parties when her guests arrived from Paris to visit.
  • There was one on every floor and during the war it was transformed into a hospital.
  • The chateau is still privately owned by the Menier family who have a chocolate factory.
  • A lot of the history is also related to the Medici family. Oh the scandal!!!
  • Many hours later we emerged into the gardens and made our way back to the car to head off 19kms down the road to Gellines where a friend of Max’s, Bruno owned and looked after a chateau.
  • OMG! What a beautiful place. Been in the family for 4 generations and a huge place which was originally used for hunting weekends years ago. The stables and carriages were huge and pheasant, boar and chamois as well as deer were hunted.
  • It is hired out as a Gite (French hostel/weekender for families and the big house is rented out for a lot of people. The chateau has 18 bedrooms. No one was staying so had a look through the place. There were doors leading to doors leading to other doors that took you to other rooms. It was like a maze but fascinating. So much work that needed to be done.
  • Bruno was lovely and we had a wonderful dinner cooked by him out in the garden under the French/Loire sun. Loving the evenings as it doesn’t get dark until 9.30-10ish.
  • Bruno has his own house on the estate but he had given Max and I our own rooms in the Gite. Very comfortable thanks very much.
  • There was also a boat shed and lake
  • Had a wonderful day and a wonderful evening so now it is time to lay my head down on this very comfortable bed in a very comfortable room and think about tomorrow when I wake in the morning.
  • Goodnight
  • Author: Baguettes cheese and wine

    Cycling through Brittany and the Loire valley in June

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