|France||Loire Valley||2001.07.21 - 07.28|
A dozen châteaux line the Loire Valley along the Loire River between Saumur, 75km west of Tours, and Chambord, the largest château 90 km east of Tours. We visited the 3 recommended by our Lonely Planet France guide: Villandry, Cheverny, and Chenonceau, and also Chambord. Only serious castle enthusiasts would want to visit more.
The Gîte we rented in La Croix en Touraine stood on the bank of the Cher River. Downstream, 6km away was Château Chenonceau, a gorgeous castle that straddles the river. One morning Wes decided to jog there and back. Getting there was no problem, but after 9 or 10km on the way back, walking seemed like a good idea to his exhausted limbs and lungs.
|After a morning jog to Château Chenonceau, we returned by car to see the light show that starts at dusk,|
|Château Villandry is 20km west of Tours and is known for its three types of spectacular formal gardens: the ornamental garden, the herb garden, and the vegetable garden.|
|The Villandry ornamental garden is in the foreground with the potager (kitchen or vegetable garden) behind.|
|Château Cheverny is 20km south of Chambord and is said to be the most magnificently furnished. We thought the interior was of little interest.|
|The spacious kennel at Cheverny houses 70 hunting dogs. Although they have access to a large field behind the kennel, most of the dogs preferred to sleep atop one another in a cramped area.|
|Château Chambord is 90 km east of Tours. With 440 rooms, Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley.|
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