22nd & 23rd Aug - Loire Valley
Over the two days we explored the Loire Valley an area famous for lavish lifestyles of the French aristocracy, full of Chateaus & manors. Our first visit was to one of the grandest of the chateaus in the area, Palace au Chambord. An amazing castle that was built in 1519 by Francois I as a place for the royal family to stay while they hunted, with the most notable resident being King Louis XIV. We then also checked out some other chateau's including Belle-Vue, Chaumont & Blois. We visited the quaint little town of Ambrois, before visiting our favourite chateau, Chenonceau, it is built over the Loire river. Amazing as you can see from the photos. We spent the night in an amazing B & B. The next day we visited a few more chateaus including Cheverny, D'Azay Le Rideau, D'Usse and Forteresse Royale De Chinnon. We also saw the amazing gardens of Villandry. After seeing all the opppulence of the chateaus you can understand why their was a French Revolution!!
24th - 27th - Brittany
Used this time as a bit of a catch up as we organized our proposed route for the coming weeks through Western Europe & booked a Greek Island cruise. We also fitted in a couple of great walks in and around the Brittany area. Unfortunately, we had to bid a fond farewell to our French hosts who have looked after us so well.
28th & 29th - Bordeaux
Wine, wine, wine, wine…. We explored the region of St.Emilion, one of the more famed areas of the Bordeaux for its vin rouge (red wine in French). A little different to the tasting procedure of Aus, as to taste at a vineyard you do a tour then taste. So after visiting the first vineyard which looked dodgy, the second that didn't speak English, the third that was appointment only and the fourth & fifth that were closed we finally got to taste some wine! We did a bus tour through the area, eating Merlot grapes (the only grape variety they are permitted to grow in this region) and learning a lot about the wine making process and tasted our first Grand Cru (top appellation for wine in the region).