For me, every trip is a reason for joy and adrenaline, whether it’s a job or a vacation. But after an awful cold and 2 sleepless nights, exploring a new place didn’t seem so fun. However, armed with many pills, tinctures and oils I went to look for my prince in the enchanted castle.
You know I’m kidding, but I would not have missed the trip to Loire Valley for anything in the world. I’ve seen so many pictures online and I’ve heard so many recommendations that it was a must to get there, even for 3 days. And what I saw was a preview to open my appetite for even more.
After a flight or rather a three-hour sleep, we arrived in Paris and headed straight to the train for another hour and a half to our final destination. From there we were taken over by Mario, from the Val de Loire Travel, who was standfast the whole journey. First of all, we were able to eat a delicious quiche and drink black tea at Maison Bigot, a pastry shop since 1913. All of this was in order for us to get back on our feet after so many hours of traveling and to get ready for the first two locations: Chateau Royal d ‘Amboise and Chateau du Clos Luce or, more simply, the house of Leonardo da Vinci.
The Chateau Royal d’Amboise is an important part of France’s history and dates back to the 11th century. It has passed through the hands of many owners, and today it is said to be a fifth of what it once was. The castle’s historical apogee was under the reign of Francis I, who invited Leonardo da Vinci to live in Amboise in 1515.
We had the opportunity to visit the gardens, the tomb of Leonardo, and in the castle we were welcomed by the locals who taught us the royal court dances.
Leonardo’s house is smaller, but both the view to the Chateau d’Amboise and the underground passage that communicates with the castle made me feel like it was an annex of the castle. Leonardo da Vinci lived at the Chateau du Clos Luce, between 1516 and 1519, where he died. The castle was both residence and place of study. The many exhibits inside the castle demonstrate how varied were his areas of interest, from aviation, to botany, painting and sculpture. King Francois I called him “The First Painter, Architect and Engineer of the King”.
And to maintain the royal feeling, our accommodation was at Le Clos d ‘Amboise. The rooms, the reception, the yard and all the decor made you feel the vibe of those years. After you see the pictures you will understand why I really want to come back here one day.
My next day’s red outfit fit perfectly with the impeccable white facade of the hotel, but also with the three castles we were going to visit. And I really didn’t talk to Ana Morodan to wear the same color, but as they say “great minds think alike”, our nicknames were Little Red Riding Hoods. I only know that our outfits fit perfectly into the landscape and I hope I’m not subjective 🙈. Not to mention Ovidiu. He walked all day, dressed in the most elegant tuxedo to fit in.
The first on the agenda was the Domaine de Chaumont sur Loire, recognized as one of Catherine de Medici’s residences, the wife of King Henry II. The castle was in her possession from 1550 to 1559, when she forced the king’s mistress, Diane of Poitiers to move here, while Catherine moved to Chateau de Chenonceau, which is the most popular and most beautiful, from my point of view. But I’ll tell you all about it in a bit.
Chateau de Chaumont is a UNESCO heritage, and because it is recognized for both history, art and gardening, it has become one of the most important destinations in the Loire Valley. It is considered the largest art center in France. Besides Catherine’s room, the music room, Ruggieri’s room or the spectacular tapestry, the castle is surrounded by impressive gardens, stables, and other annexes, where the most diverse workshops are organized.
The most impressive thing I saw in almost all the castles were the holiday decorations. From embellished chapels to the most sophisticated table arrangements or decorative elements. Apart from the spirit of the Renaissance period, there were details of the respective season that make the perfect transition between the old and the new. I have rarely seen such an attention to details.
The most spectacular, however, as I have told you, was Chateau de Chenonceau Its location on Raul Cher, the beautiful gardens, the 16th-century farm, Catherine’s stables, plus the over 70 hectares of forest make this area the most visited place on the Loire Valley, and not for nothing, believe me. All I want is to get here in the flower season, because I already imagine how the two gardens of Diane of Poitiers and Catherine de Medici would look colorful. There is even a garden of vegetables, which is used for restaurants. I recommend at least one day to enjoy this huge field and its beauties.
After we photographed every Christmas arrangement and table ornament inside the castle, we left to the last place on our list, namely Chateau Royal de Blois. I have to admit that the entrance did not impress me and I had the impression that it was very small (especially after visiting Chenonceau), but when I went inside I changed my mind completely.
The castle is made up of four parts, each decorated in a different style, but seamless all together. Besides the busts of 6 kings who lived there and Catherine de Medici’s bedroom, where she died, the castle is largely a 15th century painting, sculpture and tapestry exhibition.
Here we have captured the most spectacular sunset and a wonderful view of the city. Maybe the photos manage to express a bit better what I saw, but they cannot always capture the emotion.
For the last day we intended to visit Chateau Chambord, the largest in the Loire Valley. We gave up though because a part of the castle was closed. We tried to unravel the imposing silhouette, through a very dense fog. The big surprise was, however, when President Macron
passed by us in a rush, surrounded by bodyguards, of course, and Razvan’s attempts to photograph him were not impressive. Still, he managed to save a movie, after one of Macron’s guards told him through his teeth “Supprime” 😂
After this short history lesson that we experienced and shared with you, I only have to conclude that I have seen very little and I want to come back as soon as possible. I know I told you that already, but that’s how I feel when I’m visiting in a rush. The most important thing is that it motivated me to read more about history, giving the fact that it wasn’t my favorite subject at school. So, if you know some good books from that period, please tell me.
If you haven’t been there yet, I recommend you to put it on your next year’s wish list. You will not feel sorry, I guarantee that.
Wonderful travels and unforgettable experiences !!!
PS. It was a pleasure to spend these 3 wonderful days with you Ana Morodan, Ovidiu Muresanu, Claudiu or Claude (code name), Andrei Nourescu, and Razvan, thank you for your coordination. Andra, even if you were not with us, you organized everything impeccably and we thank you. Kisses and a wonderful New Year!!!
Chateau de Chaumont este in patrimoniul Unesco, iar prin faptul ca este recunoscut atat pentru istorie, dar si pentru arta si gradinarit, a devenit unul dintre cele mai importante destinatii de pe Valea Loarei. Este considerat cel mai mare centru de arta din Franta. Pe langa camera lui Catherine, camera de muzica, camera lui Ruggieri sau tapiteriile spectaculoase, castelul este inconjurat de gradini impresionante, grajduri, plus alte anexe, unde se organizeaza cele mai diverse workshopuri.