Vintage France

Vintage France

Chateau de Chambord from the Loire Valley of France...looking a bit vintage in today's post.

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A Visual Tour of Chateau De Chenonceau

A Visual Tour of Chateau De Chenonceau

This may qualify as my longest post ever, at least in terms of the number of photos that it contains.  But, it was worth every minute it took to prepare it for you. Click through to enjoy a visual tour of that most beautiful French Chateau in the Loire Valley - Chateau de Chenonceau.  Then pack your bags - you're likely to want to travel to France asap!

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The incredible Chateau de Chambord

The incredible Chateau de Chambord

How about we step back into history today?  Specifically, 16th century France - does that sound good?  It does to me, so I hope you will come along for the ride.  It's going to be fun, educational, colorful (of course!) and hopefully inspirational too!  Vive le France!  (or something like that)

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Amboise from above

Looking down upon a quaint French village...

I know that may sound a bit like the start of a fairy tale, but it's not.  Somehow the words "quaint French village" conjure up the idea of a story to me, a little fairy tale of sorts.  Maybe it does for you, too.

I must say that when I first arrived in Amboise, and started driving over the bridge which crossed the River Loire, staring at the Chateau d'Amboise towering over the town from the top of it's hill - it sure seemed like a fairy tale village.  It still feels that way, almost a year later.

I always think of myself as a person who would prefer the city.  Yes, I love remote spots and landscapes as much as anyone, but when I think about loving somewhere...well, I lean towards being a city and enjoying all it has to offer.

But after just a few minutes in Amboise, I was ready to throw all that nonsense out the window and live there, just relaxing at the cafes and breathing in the clean French air all day (yes, there were people smoking but come on, that's ruining my visualization!).

One afternoon we clambered up the long, steep walkway to enter the Chateau d'Amboise and see things from a different perspective.  Being the photo-addicted person that I am, I ran around like a ferret on a double espresso and took loads of shots.  

At some point I realized that if I got up to the edge of the retaining wall, I could see down over the town, so that's what you are seeing in the images today.  These are just views that I saw while leaning over the wall at various points around the perimeter.  Such a view!  Isn't this a storybook village?  Don't you want to go now?  I sure do want to return!

Looking over Chenonceau

Well, back to the Loire Valley of France today - you don't mind, do you?  :-) 

I found the entire Loire Valley to be just strikingly beautiful.  Of course, I am a fan of all the amazing chateaux that I visited.  They all possess such a great combination of interesting architecture and incredible history - it's hard not to like them! 

Chenonceau is probably the most beautiful one there that I saw.  It's hard to pick a fave, but it would probably have to be this one.  The dramatic setting over the river certainly helps!  

Anyways, at some point during my wandering and shooting, I climbed upstairs and stepped out on a little balcony.  It had just rained a bit, and all the tourists scattered like cockroaches when the lights come on, so it was pretty easy to get such a clean shot (although I admit, I removed a couple!). 

Entering Chenonceau

Well it’s been a week or so since I posted a photo from the Loire Valley, so I figured it was about time. :-)

As I have said here before (and I will say it again, just ‘cause I have to), the Loire Valley is fabulous, beautiful, and I think I could live there.  Can you imagine how many photos I would take if I lived near all these awesome chateaux??  I can’t, really.  I just know it would be a LOT.  Like, a whole lot.

This one is from Chateau de Chenonceau, which is normally shot from this view.  And as you can see, that is a great view of it.  It really gives the full perspective, with the graceful arches over the river.  But of course, I like to mix things up so I also took this shot, which is straight-on towards the entrance.  

There had been some light sprinkles of rain and everyone ran inside, which was great for me.  If it wasn’t for all the people on the balcony (look closely), it would be like having it all to myself!  And that’s something I could get used to!  :-)

Chateau de Cheverny

It seems I have shared quite a few shots from my visit to the Loire Valley of France earlier this summer, but this is the first one from Cheverny.  Chateau de Cheverny is a grand estate and I thoroughly enjoyed my visit there, but of course I say that about all these chateaux.  It’s hard not to enjoy stuff like this!

This one reminded me of a fairy-tale in that it seems there is a tiny village that has sprung up around the outside of the estate, complete with shops, restaurants, and a church.  It’s all quaint yet beautiful.  But clearly the chateau itself is the main attraction.

It has been in the same family for over 6 centuries, and has been continuously lived in during all those years.  Despite it being an occupied private home, they do offer tours, which we took.  As you can expect, there are the usual collections of grand, stately rooms adorned in beautiful ways.  It seems like a pretty good way to live, if you ask me.

There is also a museum of sorts dedicated to the old comic strip TinTin.  It seems the chateau itself appeared in one of the early editions of TinTin and they have had some connection ever since.  My daughter is a big fan of that comic, so that added an extra little bit of fun to the visit!

Leonardo's final resting place

Isn’t this an amazing looking place?  I just loved it, but of course I am a huge fan of architecture, and especially stuff like this  It just blows my mind.

As the title of this post implies, this is inside the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci.  He has a burial crypt inside a small chapel which is situated on the grounds of the Chateau de Amboise, in the lovely town of Amboise, which is situated in the Loire Valley of France.  Go there now.  You can thank me later.

Honestly, there was nothing about the entire Loire Valley that disappointed me.  I experienced great weather, incredible sights, rich history and friendly people.  I saw amazing chateaux, a lovely river, and my camera was clicking like crazy.  I ate fabulous food and enjoyed some tasty beverages.  I’m ready to move!

Just think back to the time when Leondardo da Vinci was around, and the sort of impact he had on civilization at the time.  It’s clear this guy was an immense talent and a genius.  How do you honor someone like that?  I can’t imagine.  But I must say that the burial chamber is indescribably beautiful as you can see here.

As you can tell from the photo, I was aiming up for this shot because I wanted to capture all the intricacies in the ceiling.  The detail there is amazing.  Be sure and put the Loire Valley on your bucket list!

Chateau de Chenonceau

The Loire Valley in France is well-known for its incredible chateaux, but none are as beautiful as Chenonceau, in my opinion.  Obviously I did not visit them all because I believe there are about 50 there.  But I did see 5!  Ok, that’s sounds pretty weak, now that I put it in writing.  But these were 5 incredible chateaux, and they are all fabulous in one way or another.  Or in several ways...you know what I mean.

But I have to give the nod to Chenonceau as the most beautiful one that I saw.  It was just magical, incredible, and (insert any superlative here that you want to).  I was smitten.  I’m ready to move in anytime.

Some of that has to do with the location.  It’s like something from a storybook.  There are beautiful gardens and the early Renaissance architecture is just perfect.  The chateau is nestled in some quiet woods, and straddles the River Cher.  Those graceful arches just add to the allure for me, and I consider it an architectural masterpiece.  In other words - I loved it, but I think you have figured that out by now.  :-)

I read that this is the most visited chateau in the Loire Valley, and after being there I can see why.  Be sure and make a point to see this lovely jewel of the Loire - it’s worth it!

Chateau de Chaumont

Anybody getting tired of the France photos yet?  No?  Good, I have a bunch more that I recently processed, and hundreds more still to get to.  So, let’s keep that theme alive for another day!

This is Chateau de Chaumont, in the little town of Chaumont-sur-Loire.  It is not a well-known chateau (in my estimation, at least) in the Loire Valley, but I found it to be exceptionally awesome.  Whereas some of the chateaux we visited were all about impressing you with their size (I’m thinking of you, Chambord) or just awing you with their beauty (Chenonceau, which I haven’t posted anything of yet - but it’s coming!), I found this one to be more fortress-like and less showy, if that makes sense.  But to be clear, it’s very well preserved.  I liked it a lot.  Maybe I was a knight in a previous life.

It’s perched high on a hill overlooking the River Loire, with commanding views up and downstream. I can imagine that was done on purpose.  :-)  There is a fabulous horse stable which you can tour, and also it’s worth wandering the grounds and having a look at the other buildings.  The architecture is beautiful, and you won’t be disappointed with a stop here.  Plus, it has extensive gardens which are quite beautiful.  

Anyways, if you find yourself in the Loire Valley, be sure and add Chateau de Chaumont to the list of stops you need to make.  You can thank me later!