It was an absolute delight to awake this morning surrounded by the grandeur of our chateau and then feast in a formal dining room for breakfast below chandeliers with our fellow lodgers. Unfortunately though, there are certain necessities of life that must be tended such as laundry so it was off to the local laundromat for us for a far less glamourous experience. While our clothes cleaned, we went for a turn about town and so by the time they were fluffed and folded we were ready to take to the road to see more of splendours of the Loire Valley.
We started close to home with Chateau Saumur and then headed out of town to Chateau d’Usse whose flamboyant gothic style is said to have inspired Walt Disney’s vision of the Sleeping Beauty castle. Having being assured that the best view was of the outside, we saved the price of admission for our next stop – Chateau Villandry and even then, we eschewed the castles interior for its elaborate gardens.
We spent the lions share of the day exploring the immaculate and extensive formal gardens, the bordering forest, the more casual summer gardens, the hedge maze, herb garden and the piece de resistance, the veggie patch – this is of course a gross under-exaggeration for the most exquisite and decorative vegetable garden either of us had ever seen!
Having just about exhausted my camera battery, we wound our way back home, stopping for glimpses of even more chateau’s at Azay-le-Rideau and Chinon where we also went for a wander through the old town as sun was setting. By the time we got back to Saumur, the city lights had come on so we thought it might be a good opportunity to get a photo of the Chateau lit up at night.
We drove as close as we could but couldn’t quite get the shot we were after. I spied a gap in a temporary fence that looked like it was there as part of restoration work by day so thought we could safely pop through for a squizz from the base of the castle now looming over us. The road appeared to wind around so we followed it, upsetting the local rabbit population, until it narrowed to a walking path directly below the bridge we had been standing on this morning. It was at this point that we realised we were diving in the moat (now dry obviously, we would have noticed if we’d been floating in beastie-infested waters probably). We gingerly reversed back out, laughing all the way back to the bank of the Loire for the more the standard tourist shot, the last one before my camera officially shut down for the night, us following closely behind
Mum’s Message: After waking in my beautiful 4 poster bed, we headed off to see the local castle at Saumur. After that we went to see the Sleeping Beauty castle which was too expensive and one castle is as good as another and we really wanted to see the gardens at Villandry.
The Villandry gardens are just amazing – it gives a whole new meaning to the ‘veggie patch’. It was wonderful to see how such ordinary vegetable can look so beautiful and even appetising. The remaining gardens were also very spectacular and very formal except for the blue and yellow gardens which reminded me very much of Monet’s.
What made me smile today: Naomi pushing me up the mountain into the forest around Villandry. I don’t know if she wanted me to see the teddy bears picnic or if she thought there might be a Jolly Green Giant and I’d be the first to be eaten but neither were there, only the best view of the gardens.
In the evening we attempted to get a photo of the castle at Saumur lit up at night but somehow ended up driving around the dark, dried up moat laughing hysterically and scaring the local rabbits. Love to all.