Happy Tuesday! I’ve got travel on the brain lately. Perhaps it’s due to following the romantic and the hubs’ round the world travels on The Lazy Travelers. Or maybe it’s because Leah keeps posting ridiculously awesome photos of Paris on her Insta. Sigh. I’m still counting down the months ’til Paris (nine, if you’re keeping track, too).
Back in May, a family friend, Carol, went to France with her husband. She had such a fabulous time traveling all over the country. I’ve been thinking about making a few day trips or weekend excursions to the areas outside of Paris (our home base during the trip), and gladly welcomed her advice for places in the Loire Valley. Even though my trip to The City of Light isn’t until December, I decided to try to quell my excessive day dreaming by writing about the top three castles Carol recommended I visit while in France.
The Loire Valley has plenty of fabulously famous things to do. Hello wine? Carol said she loved visiting the Loire Valley and especially loved staying in Domaine de la Tortinière. I’m assuming this was her second favorite, after all the delish wine. Yes, one can actually stay in a castle at a fairly reasonable rate! From their website, I learned that since becoming a Château-Hotel in 1955, the Tortinière has welcomed many celebrities and quasi-celebrities (I mean, they can’t be famous if I haven’t heard of them. Fact.), including former French President Georges Pompidou, Audrey Hepburn, Juliette Binoche, and many others who shall remain anonymous. The Domaine de la Tortinière is also has a park that stretches over approximately 37 acres and contains “thousands of treasures such as the two-hundred-year-old Lebanese Cedars, the Japanese Pagodas that surround the Château, the Redwoods and many more…” How fancy.
Photo courtesy of Duane Wells
While in the region, they also toured Château de Chambord via audio guide. After researching on the website, an hour and a half long tour is €5 (in addition to the admission fee). Sounds like a great deal to me! According to the website, the Château currently “conserves over 4,500 items in its inventory, including one of the finest collections of tapestries to be found anywhere in France,” not to brag or anything.
Photo courtesy of Mary Anne Evans
Lastly, Carol recommended Chenonceau Castle. Also called the “Château des Dames”, it was built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet, and successively embellished by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici. Chenonceau was protected from the hardship of the French revolution by Madame Dupin. The castle is celebrating 500 years this year! Is there even an anniversary gift is for that amount of years? While I won’t be able to walk through the gorgeous gardens on the property (hi, I’m going in December..), I’m sure the castle and its surrounding grounds will look pretty covered in snow. Right?
Photo courtesy of blieusong
Have you ever been to these castles? I’d love feedback on whether or not they’re worth the trip, as well as other things to do near by!