April – 11 – Tours – Langeais – Ussé – Fontevraud L’abbeye
This morning we decided to stop by the Tours Cathedral before heading off. It’s beautiful! It just still blows my mind that so many of these Cathedrals were made. Such massive and expensive projects, I’m sure. I’m starting to feel the same way about Chateaux; they’re everywhere! There must have been people who just made their living building chateaux.
I’m doing ok with the driving thing, but driving in cities in tight corners still gives me some problems sometimes. Nothing has happened yet! And hopefully nothing will. Visibility around corners is also pretty bad.
It was raining a bit as we started driving toward Abbey Fontevraud, one of the red attractions in our book. The red ones are “must sees” and the yellow ones are “worth seeing” and then there are some lesser “interesting” ones.
We saw some signs for Chateau Ussé, and I had recognized it as a yellow one from the book, so I followed it. We actually ended up at another Chateau, Chateau de Langeais. We decided it would be worth a look. It was definitely an older Chateau, and decorated in an older style. It was so fun, though! On the property are the ruins of the original castle built in 994. That was really cool to see.
There was also a knight we could pose with our faces in, and it was quite hilarious. I had the idea to stick my hair through the hole as well, but the effect was much different than expected. We looked like we had beards.
We laughed a lot today. The gps is hilarious, trying to pronounce French street names.
It was already after noon, so we decided to eat before heading to Ussé. We are at the restaurant right across from the Chateau, and it had a full lunch menu for 16E. Heidi got the goat cheese and honey, the “bib” steak, and a pear gratin. I got the mushroom soup, the filet mignon with mustard sauce, and the cheese plate.
Unfortunately the guy got our orders slightly messed up. It was tragic, really. He asked Heidi how she wanted her steak cooked, and she said well done. He never asked me how I wanted mine, and I didn’t think about it, until my food came. Heidi’s bib steak was bloody, and my poor filet mignon was the deaddest dead that ever was dead. I felt so bad for the poor chef, having to destroy that piece of meat. So Heidi and I swapped steaks. The rest of it was good, though.
We headed off to Chateau Ussé and when we got there, it seemed like something out of a fairy tale! It had said it was Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Heidi called dibs on it practically right after we got out of the car. “This is my house!” We soon learned, though, that you can’t judge a Chateau by it’s exterior.
We climbed the stairs up to “Sleeping Beauty,” but we didn’t expect her to actually be there. There were creepy mannequins dressed up acting out scenes from the movie, and they were all behind glass.
We thought the rest of the castle must be normal, because we had seen a brochure. No, there were creepy mannequin people all over the chateau, and they weren’t even dressed properly for the times. It was creepy.
This chateau did let us go up into the attic, with lots of old dusty things, and down into the basement cave thing. Heidi was so completely unimpressed.
When we got out of the car she said, “why isn’t this a red one? This is amazing!” And then it turned into, “this one shouldn’t even be yellow,” to “I hate this chateau!”
Yes, we learned many lessons today. Foremost being, you never know what you’re going to get.
We drove to see the Abbey, which was also red. We thought it was nice, but not that nice. We walked all around the grounds, and it did look nice from the back as well.
We hadn’t booked a hotel yet for the night, because we didn’t know where we would be. We were able to find a room still available online for a very reasonable price, and it even said it had a restaurant there.
The man at the hotel doesn’t speak English at all, but my French is still good enough that I could understand. He said the restaurant is closed today, of course, but that he would book a reservation for us in town. Hopefully it works out ok!
Our room is absolutely adorable! The beds have real sheets and feather comforters and pillows. I’m really looking forward to sleeping tonight!
Ok, so apparently the guy didn’t make a reservation for us, because we showed up in Montsoreau at the hotel, and she said their restaurant was closed on Monday, too. She told us of one that was open in town, though, so of course, we went there.
We knew it would happen eventually, but we ate at a really expensive restaurant with not very good food. It was one of those places where you order something off the menu, and you can’t remember what it was that you ordered, but when the food comes you still don’t know what you ordered.
The amuse bouche was smoked salmon and some other stuff. I thought it was pretty good.
We both got the same appetizer, which was white asparagus with something else white and a white sauce, with smoked salmon and some other stuff.
My main course was Guinea fowl and stuff, and Heidi’s was a white fish. I think we would have been happier swapping plates, but we didn’t. Heidi didn’t like her fish at all. Mine was ok, but it was under seasoned, and it just tasted like a chicken stew.
The desserts were good, though. There was this citrus foam on top of strawberries, and some sorbet. Heidi got creme brûlée.
I guess not every meal in France can be deliciously divine.