April 10 – Villandry – Azay-le-Rideau – Chenonceau
I was really struggling this morning. It was hard to get up at 7 am.
We ate breakfast at the hotel buffet, which is advertised as 18E, so you would think it would be good. It had a large selection, but very little of it actually seemed appealing at all. The grapefruit was the worst we’d ever had. The eggs were bad, the potatoes were bad. I probably ate about 3E worth. But it might have also been my stomach. I’ll be curious to see if it’s more appealing tomorrow.
We headed off to church and got there with plenty of time to spare. Everyone was so nice, and many people spoke English. One of the Sisters was from Iowa, so she was happy to see us. One of the Elders translated for us, which was very nice. After the meeting I asked him for some quick driving advice. I found out it is totally illegal to turn right on red, which is very good to know. He also explained some of the signs we might see, like who has priority in tight situations. There are a lot of tight situations here.
The sun was out and it was a beautiful day, and we were both feeling better. We headed off to our very first Chateau, Villandry. It was a great pick for the first one!
We decided that Villandry will be my house. I love all of the formal gardens. It’s also beautiful on the inside.
We probably spent close to two hours seeing everything.
We walked into the little town next to the chateau and had lunch at Le Cheval Rouge. They didn’t speak English so there was no help on the menu, and I couldn’t get enough service to get the Internet to work, so Heidi picked a trio plate where we didn’t know what two of the things were. It turned out to be some dried ham nugget things, which she said reminded her of dog treats, and some other kind of meat mixture spread thing, which she said tasted like chicken, but she didn’t like it either. The other part was goat cheese on toast, which she loved.
I got the trout with L’arc en ceil sauce, some divine gratin thing, and an eggplant, zucchini and tomato stack. My lunch was so good!
For dessert Heidi got a pistachio thing and I got some strawberry pana cotta. After I ordered it, I wondered why I had. I really don’t like pana cotta. But the strawberry was very good and made it edible.
We walked around the village a bit and went to the church.
We set off for our next Chateau, which was Azay-Le-Rideau. It had a reduced price to get in, probably because 3 of the 4 sides were covered in scaffolding. That was a disappointment. It has it’s own little lake, which makes for lovely pictures, when it’s not covered in scaffolding.
We also didn’t like the inside as much. It was obviously very different. It felt like it was a man’s chateau. Heidi said she could picture Gaston from Beauty and the Beast living there. All it needed was some animal heads on the walls.
We also walked around this town for a bit, and saw the church, and got some citron sucre crêpes, but they weren’t as good as first one I’d had.
By this time it was 3:30, and we looked at what our options were. We decided to drive to Chenonceau. This one was definitely worth it all. Heidi decided this is her new house. She’s given up Versailles, in case anyone wants it.
We had beautiful weather, and we were able to time it so we saw the gardens and outside first, then it rained while we were inside, and then stopped while we were walking to the car.
There are 4 different levels of rooms, and two levels going over the bridge. I really liked the kitchens.
Chenonceau is famous for the rivalry between Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici.
That was our last chateau for the day. We headed back to Tours, looking for a place to eat, but because it’s Sunday night everything was closed. I told Heidi that there was one day I was in Cahors, everything was closed at dinner, and the only place I found open was a kebab place. Sure enough, we passed two open kebab places, but Heidi wasn’t sold on the idea. We ended up back at the German restaurant by the train station. We both got a sausage, potato, and cheese thing with a mustard sauce. It was ok, but it wasn’t great. It was very oily. Oh well. We’ll have to try to plan ahead next Sunday.
Overall, it was a great day!