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The Loire Valley

Chatres and Chambard

sunny 95 °F

Touring the Loire Valley is an experience that puts you back in the days when Kings and Queens were in power. The castles, churches and basillicas are rich in history. Chatres is home to the greattest Gothic cathedral in France. It was built in 1020 and is famous for a color interwoven throughout its beautiful stained glass windows....Chatres Blue. This color is reminiscent of the forget-me-not flower. The "Veil of the Virgin" relic is preserved here as well. This cathedral is also unique in that a labyrinth was laid in tile in the main assembly hall. This is a true beauty,

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Preservation of France's history is a priority. Twenty percent of taxes are used for this purpose. The large collection of stained glass windows as well as the finely detailed lace carvings behind the choir have just been cleaned. This job is just about complete..it has taken ten years. Soon the cleaning of the exterior will begin.

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Next on the castle tour is the unique residence of Francois I a.k.a. "Big nose" (because...you guessed it!) .....Chateau de Chambord is believed to be the largest residence in the Loire Valley. This castle was built by 1800 men and master masons, contains 440 rooms and since Leonardo da Vinci was a friend of Francois, rumor has it that he helped with the design. This gem was not the King's royal residence but his hunting lodge!

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Following a beautiful ride in the french countryside..a chocrodite cave in Tours is where we stop for a wine tasting. This cave is carved out of limestone and a welcome relief from the 95 degree day we are experiencing. A nice French guy with a nice French accent gives us a tour. Unfortunately, we did not learn a thing. His accent was so strong that not even one word was recognizable...not for lack of trying on his part. I admire the fact that he is doing what he does. I hope someday to learn French...and I wonder how easy it will be for me to give a tour of a wine cellar in French!

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Tonight we go for dinner at Leonardo da Vinci restaurant in Tours. It's a fun little place with Leonardo standing by the staircase and reproductions of some of his inventions hanging from the ceilings. Of course, Mona was there! We have fish with a basil cream sauce, penne pasta and grilled vegetables. Baked Alaska finished off the night. Delish!

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We stroll through the old part of town a bit after dinner...charming!

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A dip in the pool and a good nights sleep and we will be ready for more chateaus tomorrow!

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 15:27 Archived in France Tagged chateau de chatres chambard

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