11.4.13

A Weekend in the Loire Valley

View of Chinon from the Forteresse

I know I shouldn't even mention the weather over here in Europe these days as I'm sure you've already read about the perpetual state of winter. Heavy jackets are like second skins and umbrellas must be permanently affixed to our bodies. I occasionally wear socks to bed to calm the body-hits-bed trembling and I don't feel well-equipped without my galoshes. By the end of March, we've all had enough. In Paris, all of this is especially tiresome not least because everyone's attitude tanks to a dour low.

But in the Loire Valley, where I spent Easter weekend, the vagaries of winter matter very little. In fact, the incessant drizzle and biting cold only amplifies its mystique. Gauzy clouds hang motionless and the lush valleys reveal majestic castles, bearing the hallmarks of artists and royals and calling to mind another period altogether. We trundled along in the rain at the Forteresse Royale de Chinon, our first stop on the way to the Château du Petit Thouars open house, and dived into history. 

Forteresse Royale de Chinon Forteresse Royale de Chinon Sébastien du Petit Thouars, Loire Valley
Fouée ready to be heated
*Above: not pita bread, fouée! The ancient bread of Touraine. For more on that, click here.

Saucisson tasting at Château du Petit Thouars

Then the rain gave way to magnificent light for a much different view of the valley's assets.

View of Chinon from the Forteresse Royale
Chinon, Loire Valley Usse, the Sleeping Beauty Château
Chateau d'Amboise, Loire Valley
Château Royal d'Amboise Fresh spinach and radishes at the Chinon Market
Strolling Amboise
Château d'Amboise

A weekend is hardly enough time to explore the region the way it's meant to be explored but one taste - of the local bounty, architecture and story - has sparked the urge to see more.

{Itinerary}
Forteresse Royale de Chinon
Château du Petit Thouars (tasting + tour of
Ussé (the Sleeping Beauty Château)
Château d'Azay-le-Rideau
Cathédrale Saint-Gatiens in Tours
Château d'Amboise 

{Lodging}
Hotel Agnès Sorel (Chinon)

{Dining}
Les Années 30 (Chinon, oldest street in town)
La Grange des Celtes (Tours, crêpes/galettes)

For more photos, click HERE.
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