Life begins where your comfort zone ends
TOURS & AMBOISE
We left northern France to head to the Loire Valley (where all the big houses, called chateau, are). On our drive down we stopped in a cute town called Tours. Apart from being an amazing little town, it also had a gigantic cathedral that was very impressive. We then continued the short drive to the town of Amboise and checked into our accomodation. Our accomodation was in the Old town – next to an old clock tower in the attic. It had beautiful exposed beams and skylight windows.
The owner of the Airbnb told us that there was a market in the town, so the next day we decided to check it out. Amboise is located on a river and the market is normally massive, but the stallholders told us that, due to the cold and wind, it was much smaller at the moment. Just outside the market they had built a massive bird house.
So good to be in an actual farmers’ market and not the tourist version. We were surprised at the amount of seafood available for sale (and the accompanying smell!). We managed to pick up some beautiful blue cheese, some fresh vegetables and some amazing handmade pasta and some cheap avocados. Yum!
CHATEAU DE CHENONCEAU
After dropping the goodies back at the unit, we drove the short distance to Chenonceau Chateau. We decided we only wanted to visit one chateau (there are tonnes) and really enjoy it and take our time rather than rush around or go on an organised tour. We had picked this one (before the trip) as, not only did it look amazing and was close to our accommodation, but it was one of the only ones that was built on the water and looked romantic.
We were greeted upon our arrival by the guard cat (who was trying to look like our cat Dash). The grounds were massive. There was a full maze there and three separate gardens designed by three different owners, a full massive farm with vegetable garden, carriage house and a giant tearoom. This was all before you got into the actual house itself. The views were spectacular and each room was lavishly decorated. It was particularly cool to see the kitchens and where the servants lived and worked. Most of the fireplaces were actually working.
Most rooms had amazing hand woven tapestries that must have taken ages to create.
The next day, we left Amboise and made the drive to Bordeaux, in the south of France. This was about a four hour drive and it was made worse by the fact that it was raining, and there were ‘violent winds’ (as it said on the road signs) – the car shook quite a lot like you are in an airplane when it hits turbulence. Kim was gripping whatever she could for most of the trip. It wasn’t a pleasant drive.
We made it to Bordeaux in one piece and checked in. Our accommodation was styled in a vintage fashion and was just our colour!
The next day was a car free day (yay). We woke up and had another amazing Kim made breakfast! Bordeaux was very much a city and, as such, we didn’t enjoy it as much as the little towns. We managed to find a little Christmas market – which was probably the best one we have seen as it was all hand crafted and not touristy. The cathedral was impressive and the city had very efficient looking trams that ran past our front door. We saw the bell of Bordeaux – famous for ringing in danger. We tasted our first ice-cream near the square that overlooked the river. They had nice lanterns throughout the city as well. Driving in the built up areas has been tricky as there are many one way streets and there are billions of pedestrian crossings – including straight off roundabouts and they allow cars to park on top of the crossings – making it really hard to see the people! We saw some groups of school kids – they all have to wear flouro -vests (although we noted that the teachers didn’t!).