The four of us – Sean, Eugenia, Mama (my maternal grandmother) and I – took an overnight coach from London to Paris CDG Airport. We eventually decided on it even though it took a good 6 hours because it brought us straight to the airport, as compared to by train or plane, which would involve a lot of walking for my grandmother. We’re so proud of our kickass 81-year-old grandmother who is still traveling all over Europe (her entire trip is 7 weeks long!).
We met our parents and Ignatius at the airport. It was really nice seeing them after so long 🙂 After picking up our rental car, we zooped out of Paris and straight to Loire Valley. Loire Valley, which is home to over 100 castles in total, is known for its wine, impressive chateaux (castles), and beautiful gardens. The entire valley is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Over the course of two days, we visited 3 valleys in total, namely Chateau de Chambord, Chateau Chenonceau, and Chateau de Vilandry. While Chateau de Chambord’s park is as large as the city of Paris, I think Francois I (King of France from 1515 – 1547) spent too much money trying to make it big that he ran out of money to furnish the castle. The insides of the castle were pretty bare and um, minimalist, and definitely paled in contrast to the other two (of course, none of these three are as beautiful as the renown Versailles).
The most interesting take home from my visits to the various Chateaux would have to be the rich history behind the royal family. Reading up about the kings and their families before visiting these Chateaux definitely made my visits more memorable. Kudos to my mom and her 24-page-long itinerary that gave us ample reading material prior to visiting the various sites.
Not to get confused, I’m gonna post the pictures Chateau by Chateau, starting with Chateau Chenonceau. King Hentry II gave this castle to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who was 16 years his senior (she was 30, and he was 14). Unfortunately, Henry II died suddenly at a young age in a jousting tournament. His wife, Catherine de Medici, seized the castle from Poitiers and made Chenonceau her favorite Loire Valley residence. With all the drama in the royal family, I guess they didn’t need television sets to entertain the ordinary folk!
Wayang piang! Sean and the River Cher.Outside Chateau Chenonceau. Guess which two clever asses sat on a wet bench… Judging by the length of the beds, I am guessing that the royals of the castle were pretty short during that time… My moobs and I!