2013 Cheung Family Trip to France

The entire group of 13 goes to France

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Day 6.  Seeing Loire Valley and its chateaus
We have had cool weather so far, and today was the first with significant rain.  Most of the tour group packed clothes for hot weather, so we felt a little ill prepared for this cool weather.

Our first stop today was Chateaubriant.  This town is named after a castle
This is not a robot, but a road marker.

farmers market
Here we encountered a farmers market, and a big hit were the little chicks and the crepes.

nap time
Our next stop was in Angers, and here in the Place du Ralliement, where there was an art exhibit consisting of these colorful chairs.  We sat here and had lunch and some of us napped, while some of us pretended to nap.

angers picnic
You can't beat this backdrop for a picnic place.

Our last stop is arrival at the chateau in the Loire Valley where we would spend two nights.  This is the Chateau de Breuil.  It would become one of our favorite places to stay.

The rooms were nicely decorated.

Two of the rooms our group would stay in.  Latter one ours.

A moment to relax.

blois dinner
That night we picked the optional dinner at the La Tour restaurant in Blois.  Like in the previous places on this trip, the food was wonderful.

One of the appetizers at dinner.  It was excellent.

Day 7.  More of the Loire Valley
The next day we celebrated America's independence by exploring several chateaus including Leonardo Da Vinci's final home.

clos luce
On this day, we would be led by a different guide and driver.  The guide was Martine, and the driver was Michealle.  This is the entrance area of Clos Luce, where Da Vinci lived the final three years of his life.  The house was a gift of Francis I to him.

mona lisa repro
A reproduction of Da Vinci's famous painting hangs in his bedroom.

garden pano
In the middle of the chateau is of course a beautiful garden.  Pano->

da vinci's inventions
And inside the house are reproductions of his most famous inventions.

An army tank along with the driver in the foreground.  He fought at Utah Beach.

chenanceau castle
Our next stop was Chenonceau.  The castle of the ladies.  Originally, only the left part existed, then Diane de Poitiers commissioned the construction of a bridge across the river.  Later, Catherine the Medici added the galleries on top of the bridge.

chenanceau castle
This is the long gallery built above the bridge to the other side.

Another view of the gallery across the river.

Ahh France.

Mini-pano of the entrance drawbridge.  This is a very nice castle.

This mechanism in the kitchen was cool.  You cranked it up by pulling up a weight above the river, and then it would turn several rotisseries in front of the fire.

I grabbed a knife to help out.

Being the castle of the ladies, there were flowers everywhere.  Another thing to note was that it had been a cool spring, so many flowers were blooming in the countryside when they should have been past season.  Many of us appreciated that.

Our final chateau of the day was massive and impressive: Chambord.  Built by Francis I (the same one who gave Da Vinci his home), and lived in by several other kings afterwards.
Many of the amazing architectural features are thought to be designed by Da Vinci.

main stair case in chambord
Here at the center of the front of the roof, you can see the top of the amazing double spiral main staircase.

Most of the intricate features are on the roof.  According to the guide, this was intentional and was meant to give the most impact for the initial impression.  Since you see the roof first, your first impression is formed then.

Even the downspouts were decorated.

Watch out Mom!  That monster is gonna get you.

Another great staircase in the background.  There are two of this size, one on each side of the main one.

Back at the Chateau du Breuil after dinner there that night.

We used the bikes that were available at the chateau to explore the country side
(better picture to follow).

cheverny castle
We went by Cheverny Castle, which is the inspiration for Herge's castle in Tintin.

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