Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Châteaux Part 2

Two down, two to go. Except there were some problems; because of what turned out to be serious flooding they'd actually closed Chambord to the public. Which was a serious blow for me, since of all of them it was the one I most wanted to see. Do a Google image search for 'Chambord castle' – if you just put 'Chambord' you'll get pictures of the liqueur – and you'll see why. But our tour guide said we'd be going to Blois instead.

So, we continued onto the next destination, Château de Cheverny. Which, on the outside, looks like this:

And on the inside like this:

Some serious swords there.

And a sedan chair, sans poles.

They have a letter from George Washington.

It's also significant as the inspiration for Marlinspike Hall – the Haddock family residence, but you all knew that, didn't you? – in the Tintin stories by Hergé. They play up the Tintin thing a bit; there's actually some kind of exhibition to that extent there, but I didn't have time to see it.

They also have a giant sequoia, possibly the only one I've ever seen.

Oh, and they have hunting hounds, which are unlike any dog I've seen before. They're like tall beagles. According to Rick Steves' blog they're half English foxhound and half French Poitou.

And that was that. Then we set off for Blois.

Louis XII liked porcupines.

Unfortunately, that's all we got to see of it. They were closed 'cause of the floods as well, which seemed a bit confusing because it's on top of a hill. But none of us spoke French (our driver was parking the van) and they didn't speak very good English. So, we went off to yet another place, Chaumont-sur-Loire. Which has a big garden section, which I went into first.

They also have a lot of outdoor sculpture.

This is the castle part.

I get closer later. I wandered off to see the Andy Goldsworthy piece they have. Couldn't get very close to it, though.

I didn't note down who this one was by.

Okay, more castle.

And inside.

Weird chair. Why does the term ménage à trois spring to mind?

There's Louis XII again.

I tried to photograph une abeille. It didn't want to sit still.

Finally the very long day was over. I celebrated by having confit duck and a glass of local red, followed by the below: a crêpe with hot banana, chocolate sauce, cream, ice cream and almonds. I'd been craving one with banana for a while now, and this was the first place I'd seen that actually had it on the menu.

It was even more amazing than it looks and sounds. I wasn't wild about the food option in Tours (compared to everywhere else) but the fact there was a crêperie (with banana) nearby made up for it.

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