Amboise

We woke up to a beautiful, sunny morning in a France Passion site near to St-George-sur-Cher.

Before we set off this morning the owner of the winery Pierre, came by to apologise for the smoking pyres dotted around the vineyard. He explained that they set fire to the straw bales at around four o’clock in the morning. From what I can gather this is a relatively new process, where the smoke from the fires forms a cloud over the vineyard, which softening the sun’s rays as it rises. This is to prevent the first rays of the sunshine burning the buds that are frozen during the night.

Back in Amboise, we collected the bikes and set off on today’s outing, a circular route to the famous Château de Chenonceau.

Another 46 km, will our posteriors ever forgive us!
Flat out (top speed 49.4KPH)

I don’t think even with the added battery power I’m going to make the grade for the ‘Tour de France’.

Great spot near Blére with lots of picnic tables

We found a good location for a quick lunch with picnic tables, however although it was sunny it was still bloody freezing. If we’d been organised bringing one of the flasks with some hot soup would have been a good idea. As I don’t think the Loire equivalent of Wilfs cafe in Staveley near Kendal exists.

The Cher valley

This area is very pleasant indeed, the Cher river is smaller and quieter than the Loire with less development close to the river. That is apart from Chenonceau… although technically speaking, Chenonceau is on the river.

lesley framing the iconic image of Château de Chenonceau

Perhaps the most famous of the many castles in the region, Chateau de Chenonceau is an impressive sight. Spanning the River Cher, it’s an attractive mix of architectural styles and is best known for being the residence of Queen Catherine de Medici. The endless rooms and halls are decorated sumptuously. It’s history is also very accessible through the engaging information provided of the colourful lives of its multiple owners.

Monster oven in the extensive kitchens

Getting good images of the interior of this very popular place without including the backs of peoples heads is really quite difficult. I’ll save you from having to wade through the dozen’s of photographs we took of the interior except this one taken in the briefest of lulls in visitors walking in to spoil the shot.

Château de Chenonceau gardens are huge

Lesley would like a garden with a wall with a gate in it. However I think we should start with a garden first!

Having visited many of the houses owned by the National Trust in the UK I was disappointed with the gardens here. Although the gardens at Chenonceau are very extensive, for my taste I thought they were very formal with the sort of creativity usually reserved for the orderly, symmetrical beds in the middle of roundabouts planted by local council.

Sheep and tortoise (not shown)

Although the French probably can do chic better than most. Their taste can at times certainly be questionable. I can only assume it’s meant to be very tongue in cheek, but faux sheep were definitely very tacky and not up to NT standards and to cap it all (shock horror) neither were the tea rooms!

I much prefer the concrete cows in Milton Keynes cows to a random Green Daisy!
We liked the lilac or was it wisteria growing up this cottage in the gardens

The visit to the Château de Chenonceau had been well worth in spite of the freezing cold (100 kph?) headwinds, at least we’d been able to get some feeling back in our hands, standing by the large log fire in the main entrance hall.

Not another fake… this time as we cycled through a nearby village – I wonder where they got the idea from?

Arriving back at Amboise we had cycled along mainly dedicated cycle ways and quiet back roads though pretty, sleepy villages, clocking up a total of 90km over the two days we had rented the bikes. But we feel quite inspired to get our own ebikes now….

We both had really taken to Amboise and the area around it. Before leaving we planned to visit the popular Sunday market which is meant to be one of the best in the area. Therefore after a comfortable night in the Municipal Campsite on the island we packed up parked Charlie outside the gates and walked over the bridge into town.

Artichokes a speciality of the Loire region

Following the crowds along on the town side levy, we were soon wedged in with the masses getting our ankles bumped with pushchairs as we squeezed between the queues lining up to buy from the stalls.

The fruit and veg on all the stall looked really well presented and fresh., there were also several stalls with huge pans of paella.

Not sure the image really does justice to the variety of fresh pasta for sale.
This chap looked like he tried one too many of his own free wine samples!

We didn’t buy that much, just a few bits of veg, some bread and brioche €6, oh and the strap on my cheap watch broke a few weeks ago so I looked at a few stalls to find a replacement but in the end brought a new watch for €5. That’s a euro less that the bread…! But then you can’t eat the watch.

Time to go!

Toodle Pip

Dave & Lesley

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