Today we travelled further along the Loire valley. Following the river and glancing up at numerous splendid chateaus along the river. Having noticed a particularly big Castle from the main road we upset SatNav and did a little detour and stopped off for a couple of hours at Amboise. The centre of the town has a magnificent imposing Castle surrounded by the usual restaurants and tourist stuff. This is the first time we have stopped for “proper” food not cooked in Ellie. Typically French Onion soup brimming with croutons and melted cheese. Lovely. Followed by a scrumptious ice cream!
A meander through the narrow streets and we were back at the car park and on our way again.
This time to Chateau Chenonceaux. This is known as “The Ladies Chateau”. Built in the 1430’s it is a magnificent but small chateau. Built over the river Cher it has been the home of French Kings and their mistresses, all adding to and defining its character.
The grounds and house were in one of the most beautiful situations and as Jane commented “a more happily situated house she had never seen” (some will recognise that phrase from Pride and Prejudice apparently so she tells me).
It was much more down to earth than Versailles and also very beautiful with huge kitchen gardens and flower beds, and many of the flowers are used in the Chateau for decoration – perfect for the ladies.
Afterwards we decided to head further north as we have a lot of Kilometres to cover back to Calais for Sunday so a long 120km drive took us through Le Mans. I know of the race but didn’t realise it was mostly on public roads until we starting noticing that the road we were on had large crash barriers, larger than usual advertising hoardings and regular chicanes just next to the main road. Starting in 1923, the “24 Heures du Mans” is a 24 hour race held mostly on closed public roads and a small part on a race track. It is a race of endurance both on the drivers – they have 3 drivers share the same car and also on the mechanics to keep the race car at top performance for a constant 24 hours. Next time we see it on TV we shall be watching to see if we recognise any of it!
The Aire we had planned to stop at was closed for re-construction so Jane quickly found another Aire on the map about 25 mins away so we headed there (MontBizot). For the first time this trip we were the only motorhome on the Aire and it was a little creepy on our own in the middle of nowhere. But it was all fine and we slept safe and sound.