Welcome back! Last week I wrote about the first half of my visit to the Loire Valley Chateaux, but then school and exams intervened so I wasn’t able to finish until now. I left off on Saturday night, after a great day of visiting Amboise and Chenonceau, and having dinner in the town of Tours. Saturday was quite wet; we tended to have clear skies whenever we arrived somewhere, but as soon as we let our guard down it started raining. Sunday, however, was nice and sunny, and we even dared to leave our umbrellas on the bus.
We left Tours at about 9:45 after breakfasting in the hotel and headed for the Chateau de Cheverny. Unlike the others we visited, Cheverny is sitll privately owned and the family lives in half of the castle. We had a guided tour of the other half, showing some of the history of the family through antique furniture, art, and tapestries. One of my favorite rooms was the music room (below). Cheverny served as the inspiration for Captain Haddock’s chateau in the adventures of Tintin, a popular European comic in the mid-20th century. After our tour indoors, we walked around the lovely gardens in the back and found another hedge maze! The hedges were higher on this one and it was a little more challenging than the one at Chenonceau. We also saw several people sitting on the lawns and enjoying the sun.
After Cheverny, we had lunch at a local crêperie and met at the bus to move on to our final stop, Chambord. Chambord is the largest of the Loire VAlley Chateaux; 426 rooms, 77 staircases, 282 chimneys. Here’s a view of the back, as we walked up to it, and the front as we prepared to enter. It’s laid out in a style similar to castles of the Middle Ages; the entrance gate leads to a courtyard and the actual castle is surrounded by a wall.
We each toured the inside at our own pace. I spent some time in the chapel, which served as a shelter for many pieces of art from the Louvre (including the Mona Lisa) and other museums during the second World War. I really enjoyed seeing the game room, which featured several games that Louis XIV actually would have played. There was a board game similar to chutes and ladders, and several card and dice games, all of which involved chance or gambling in some way.
We all met up again shortly after Chambord closed at 5pm and boarded the bus one last time to go back to Paris. On the way home, we had a trivia time during which our guide asked us several questions about information we should have learned on the trip. They kept track of who answered the most correctly, and the winner received a voucher for a boat ride down the Seine with four friends and a bottle of champagne! I got a few answers correct, but wasn’t quick enough with the others. It was a great way to review and cap off the weekend.