13 April – Blois – Chambord – Cheverny – Chaumont sur Loire
We’re staying at the Ibis in Blois center, and while we’re not happy about the parking (16E total), they do have a really nice breakfast! One of the best so far.
We walked over to the Chateau and gave ourselves a tour. It was a little more museum-y than some of the others, but it was still nice to look at. So much furniture from the 16th century, and a lot of it is still in really good condition. They had a harpsichord and a pianoforte as well.
It also seems like Francois the first has his hands on everything. His salamander is in a lot of the chateaux. It looks like a dragon, but it’s actually a salamander.
Catherine de Medici also seems to be everywhere.
I bought another coin souvenir. They’re at all the chateaux and they’re 2E each. Blois also had a smushed penny machine! The first I’ve seen this trip. I got one of those, too, and some more magnets.
Next we drove to Chambord. It’s huge! The drive in was really impressive; seeing it loom up and get bigger and bigger. Francois the first started building it, basically as a hunting lodge. A really big hunting lodge! The bottom floor has 4 main rooms around a huge central staircase that goes all the way up past the roof, but the upper floors have some surprisingly cost smaller rooms. It was quite different than I expected.
The best part, though, was the roof. It looks crazy, with tons of different spires and turrets, and crazy shaped things, and from the ground it doesn’t make sense, but the roof itself is a huge terrace, so you can see everything close up and walk around admiring it.
I found a stuffed salamander in the gift shop, and I had to buy him. His name is Francois, of course. He likes to sit on my shoulder.
We got lunch at a cafe on the grounds. We both got different bruchettas and crêpes for dessert. They were ok, not great.
Next we went to Cheverny, and I have to say, it’s probably one of the best all round. Heidi claimed it immediately, like she does everything else, but she really wanted this one. She likes it so much she’s willing to let me have all of the other chateaux in France (besides the ones that are already her’s, Chenonceau, Langeais, and Versailles.)
Cheverny is really, really nice.
There were some huge antlers hanging in the stairwell, and they were unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Turns out they’re from a prehistoric ancestor of the elk and over 6000 years old. Crazy!
Next we drove to Chaumont sur Loire. We saw it from the train coming in to Tours, so we definitely had to go see it. It’s absolutely gorgeous from the outside. It really looks like a castle. But, not all of it is restored on the inside, and a lot of it is being used as an art gallery.
There was a bride and groom there taking wedding photos.
I did like all of the different window patterns.
It was already 5pm when we finished with Chaumont, so we decided not to do anything else, and just go back to the hotel.
We mapped out a rough idea of what we want to do for the rest of the trip, and reserved a few hotels. We just have one week left!
We found a really nice restaurant here in Blois called Poivre et Sel (Pepper and Salt), and it was amazing!!! The food was presented very artistically, but it tasted really, really good.
I got some cold pressed chicken thing with potatoes, then salmon, and Heidi got her goat cheese on toast, and sausage and blue cheese and potatoes. We both got the chestnut mousse. It was all ridiculously good. It was 28E for the menu, which was worth every bit.
We get to sleep in a little tomorrow because the Chateau we’re going to doesn’t open until 10:30, and then we have a lot of driving to do.