Hello, my friends. This week, I planned to share with you the castles we saw in the Loire Valley. After some internal debate, I decided to continue with the post, so that we can all continue to celebrate the wonderful French culture and history.
That said, with the horrific events of last week, M. Cheesemonger and I spent our Friday afternoon slowly piecing together what was happening in Paris, then our Friday evening making sure all of our friends and family were safe. In the end, they were all safe, albeit with a few close calls. We are grateful for the safety of our friends and family, although we share in the enormous sadness for all that occurred. We are thinking of the French people all the time, and offer them our expression of solidarity.
As many Parisians have said, though, life must continue. All of the cultural, culinary, intellectual, and artistic gems that make life in Paris, and in France, so unique and wonderful continue to shine, despite the pain we all feel.
Our work for this week, and forever, is to love and support each other.
(Find out about castles below the French version of this message.)
Bonjour mes amis. Cette semaine, j’ai prévu partager avec vous les châteaux qu’on a visités dans la Loire. Après un débat interne, j’ai décidé de continuer avec cet article, pour que tout le monde puisse continuer à célébrer la belle culture et histoire française.
Cela dit, avec tous les événements horrifiques qui ont eu lieu la semaine dernière, M. Cheesemonger et moi avons passé vendredi après-midi à comprendre ce qui se passait. On a passé la soirée à contacter nos proches pour verifier qu’ils étaient tous saufs. Heureusement, ils étaient tous saufs. Nous sommes très reconnaissants de leur sûreté, mais nous partageons l’énorme chagrin pour tout ce qui s’est passé. Nous pensons aux français tout le temps, et nous leur offrons l’expression de notre solidarité.
Comme l’ont dit beaucoup de Parisiens, la vie doit continuer. Tous les trésors culturels, culinaires, intellectuels et artistiques de la vie parisienne et française continuent à briller, malgré tout le chagrin que nous éprouvons.
Notre devoir cette semaine, et à jamais, et s’aimer et se soutenir.
Bonjour, mes amis ! Once you’re done exploring food and drink in the beautiful Loire Valley, you can walk all of those Rillettes de Tours off at the region’s many châteaux. We were rather short on time, so we only visited four, but they were each fascinating in their own way.
Villandry was built on the foundations of a medieval fortress during the 16th century, and is rich with history and architectural gems. However, the château is particularly known for its vast, meticulously kept gardens—where M. Cheesemonger and I spent our visit. The vegetable garden turned lowly pumpkins and celery into great decorative flourishes. The garden’s labyrinth was a verdant playground for us as it began to drizzle. Each turned corner of the garden yielded a beautiful surprise: fountains, elegant promenades, autumn colors, and flowers. You can visit the gardens year round, and they are regularly updated (who knows what things will look like next season compared with my photos). I cannot fathom how much work goes into their maintenance. This is a must-see in my book!
The château de Chenonceau is one of the most popular in the region, as its majestic bulk nearly straddles the Cher River. There, we could see the bedrooms of several of the leading ladies of the house, all embellished with enormous fresh flower displays. The stunning kitchens and their remarkable copper collection grabbed our attention, as well as the enormous mechanized spit installed over the fireplace for roasting. M. Cheesemonger and I spent a long time in the gallery extending over the Cher, imagining the fêtes that took place there, as well as its service in World War I as a hospital and convalescing center.
This château charmed me in a way none of the others did. Maybe it was the roses all around the main courtyard, or the exquisite décor inside. Charles Perrault, the 17th century writer, was also charmed upon visiting, and penned Sleeping Beauty here (He is also known for writing Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Puss in Boots). Throughout the château, we could see costumed mannequins reenacting castle life, while another set of mannequins in the towers retold the story of Sleeping Beauty with the aid of some creative lighting. Sadly, it was getting dark and rainy when we visited this storied castle, so my photos of this beautiful castle were not the best.
The long and rather bloody story of the Château d’Amboise is intriguing and worth the read. Sadly, much of the original castle was destroyed during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, M. Cheesemonger and I took advantage of the property’s stunning riverside views on one side, and on the other, towering perspective over the town in which it is located. Downtown Amboise butts up right against the castle’s thick walls, making for an impressive panorama. As if that wasn’t enough, the remains of Leonardo Da Vinci can be found in the château’s castle, as he spent the last few years of his life here upon the invitation of François I.
Château de Villandry. 3 Rue Principale, 37510 Villandry, France. +33 2 47 50 02 09
Château d Chenonceau. 37150 Chenonceaux, France. +33 820 20 90 90
Château d’Ussé. 37420 Rigny-Ussé, France +33 2 47 95 54 05
Château d’Amboise. 37400 Amboise, France. +33 2 47 57 00 98
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