Posted by: vlibrizzi | May 31, 2009

The Loire Valley is up our alley!

(In case you were wondering, C. came up with the goofy title for this blog post 🙂 )

This weekend, C. and I took his mother andDSC_0384 sister on a trip to the Loire Valley. We left Fontainebleau on Friday afternoon and arrived in the cute town of Amboise by dinner time. We checked into our fabulous bed and breakfast, Le Vieux Manor, (photo to the left) and got to know the two wonderful owners who are Americans from Boston too! What a small world! 🙂 Instead of renting two hotel rooms for the weekend, we rented a two bedroom addition to the manor house which had a full kitchen, two bathrooms, and a great living room. But, our favorite part of the suite was the great outdoor patio where we could sit, look at the roses in the garden, and pick cherries right off the trees. We were in heaven! 

DSC_0266We had a lovely dinner on Friday night in Amboise at a restaurant that was right across from the Amboise chateau—a taste of what was to come. But, we loved our suite so much, that we quickly returned to it and sat in the living room (photo to the left) chatting about our plans for the weekend until late into the evening

DSC_0289The next morning, we woke up to lovely croissants at our door and the open invitation to pick as many cherries as we’d like. So as C.’s mom made us french press coffee (yum!), C. and I picked cherries outside. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_0312Then, we all had a nice, long brunch together on the patio. It felt just like home. 

(C. snapped this photo of us during brunch to the left without us even knowing.)

 

 

 

DSC_0334Then, we hopped in the car and drove to our first chateau of the trip: Villandry. We didn’t visit the inside of this chateau, but instead just went to visit the fabulous gardens. 

The photo to the left is of the perfectly manicured vegetable gardens. These gardens have been around since the middle ages when the monks living around here would plant their vegetables in these symmetrical patterns. The chateau owners still plant the vegetables in this same fashion and in the photo above you can see lettuce, leeks, and carrot stalks. 

DSC_0351We also visited other parts of the garden such as the mazes photographed in the photo to the left, and the reflection pool, behind C.’s mom and sister in the photo below. 

 

 

 

DSC_0345

After visiting Villandry, we stopped in the Loire Valley town of Vouvray to taste some lovely white wine from the region. We loved it so much that we bought a few bottles: some to take home, and others to have for dinner that night. 

 

 

DSC_0373We then visited the famous chateau of Chenonceau (photo to the left). We were some of the last guests to arrive so we pretty much had the chateau to ourselves for our visit. I got the Ipod audioguide (so cool!) and we visited all of the beautifully decorated rooms. 

 

DSC_0376That evening, we made dinner for ourselves in our suite and sat under the stars. We had some champagne to toast the occasion, and then ate some local salmon with potatoes for our entree. We then had a cheese course after our entree (in the French fashion!) of two regional cheeses, and had cherries for dessert.

Then, this morning, we had another lovely brunch, picked some more cherries, and then visited the Amboise market, where we bought some yummy paella for dinner tonight (which C. and his mom are warming in the microwave right now as I write). 

DSC_0386Later in the afternoon, we visited the chateau of Chambord. Compared to Chenonceau, it was hugungous, but it wasn’t as nicely decorated inside. We found out later that since Chenonceau was a residence of the king (one can hardly call it his residence since he lived here for a total of 9 days!), it was sparsely furnished because the king would bring his furniture with him as he traveled. Can you believe how many caravans of furniture it would take to fill up this place?!?!

DSC_0393The thing we loved most about Chambord was the architecture. Inside the chateau there is a double spiral staircase so that if you go up one side of the staircase and your other friends go up another side, you would never meet! It was seriously an architectural marvel! 

Unfortunately, we didn’t get a photo of the staircase, but instead C. took a ton of photos of his favorite part: the great chimneys and towers! There were so many of them–it really was amazing! 

DSC_0399The weather was beautiful (actually, it was perfect!) and it was definitely a wonderful weekend with our family! 

Although it sounds a bit corny, the Loire Valley was definitely up our alley 🙂

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