What if we told you that the day still had another surprise? Well yes, in addition to Valençay Castle, Montrésor has been the great stop of the day, a captivating town with a castle of S.XI that has fallen in love with us
Planning the route of the day: Tours - Amboise
As we have been doing throughout the newspaper, we tell you in detail how we choose the stops as well as the options that we discard so that you value in your planning. He itinerary of the day has been the following (click to see it on Google Maps)
The route of the day separates us today from the Loire River proper but it takes us into a valley where barely 40 minutes we can start the day in one of the most beautiful castles, the one of Chenonceau. We have made the food in Loches, 30 minutes, to enjoy the afternoon discovering Montrésor, the big surprise and Valençay, just 50 km apart. We have finally returned to the banks of the Loire to rest in Amboise at 1 hour and enjoy one of the best night shows we've seen in the world (besides sleeping in another mansion with history)
Distance traveled during the day: 171 km
Car used in the trip: Toyota Yaris rental (pre-booked online with Rentalcars)
Hotel chosen to sleep in Amboise: Le Clos d'Amboise (a 16th century mansion)
Alternative excursions to the car from Paris in Spanish: Loire Castles in 1 day, Loire Castles in 2 days, 2-3 day castles of the Loire and Mont Sant Michel orCastles of the Loire and Normandy for 3-4 days
What to see between the Tours and Amboise?
Many people decide to base in one city or another and move around the area. In our case we have decided to continue advancing along the banks of the Loire although the day has led us to visits further away from it with stops in Chenonceau, Loches, Montrésor, Valençay and, finally, Amboise. If you want to evaluate more options youwe list in stop order (many do not appear even in the usual guides -With the most interesting-):
- Chenonceau Castle, an essential on any route of the Loire and one of (coming soon)
The best views are achieved from the Diana Garden area or coming from the Chancellery. All the gardens are very well maintained but it is the image of the 16th-century residential-style facade located on the Cher River that falls in love. It seems that it was founded on the pillars of a previous fortified mill.
Taking advantage of the fact that it is still early and there are not many people, we enter their interior dependenciesTHE BEST ADVICE ... GET UP!
While you will have in "Visit to Chenoneau Castle (with prices and map)"(coming soon) all schedules, prices, maps and tips to plan your stop, we believe it is important to notify you since to enjoy Chenonceau (the same happens to Chambord) it is necessary to come first as we did. The Castle de Chenonceau is, after Versailles, the most visited French castle.
Built in 1513 by Katherine Briçonnet and later expanded by Diana de Poitiers and Catalina de Médicis, from the moment you enter through its doors you are speechless with the extraordinary collection that still retains. Paintings by Rubens, Murillo and many others, Flanders tapestries from the 16th century, extraordinary wealth of furniture and decorations taken care of in detail For a moment, it seems that time stopped in his day in this place and has not yet started again.
Successive halls, chapel, bedrooms of Diana de Poitiers, Luisa de Lorena or Catalina e Médicis, galleries (especially the one that rises over the river Cher and that leaves that spectacular image), kitchens, ... are distributed on two floors of a walk that is a delight
From the castle itself are also the best views of the Catalina de Médicis garden and the circular tower of the 15th century of medieval origin (the only one next to the pit) that made access control
And to call it "Ladies Castle? Do you realize that we have not named any man? Since the same construction, decided by Thomas Bohier but carried out by his wife Katherine Briçonnet, it has been women who have had the greatest influence on the future of the castle. Even during the French Revolution it was saved by a woman, Louise Dupin. What nobody saves us from is the coming revolution so after 2 and a half hours of visitWith the arrival of the hordes of tourists and the more tourist activities (you can take a boat trip), the road demands us.
Also say that between July 1 and August 31, there is a night walk for EUR 6 more that allows you to see the gardens lit at night with inspiring music.
Loches, medieval citadel on the Indre river
Defined as "The most beautiful corner of France"(specifically for this town), Loches does not usually enter the most common routes through the Loire Valley and we believe it is a mistake. The Loire Valley is much more than castles (beautiful all), it is also authentic villages, medieval citadels, bike or boat rides on the river, gastronomic experiences, abbeys that take the hiccups, charming accommodations or even wine tastings in wineries in the area. Loches fits in the first two, since it is a medieval riverside city full of history and authenticity
Loches lives permanently guarded by the highest and oldest Tower of tribute of Europe built by the Count of Anjou with 36 meters, the same that gives starting gun back in the year 1000 with defensive functions but that through numerous subsequent additions would grant him the distinction of royal city in 1249. Even a day like today Market (Wednesday and Saturday), with such a festive atmosphere (stalls of flowers, cheeses, wine, typical products ...), one can realize that its old town is one of the best preserved in France
Their narrow and cobbled streets they give rise to a labyrinth that traveled the kings, queens and important people of the past such as Ricardo Corazón de León or Juana de Arco, which ascends from the lower medieval city to the Puerta Real itself (S.XII-XIII) that gives access to the Royal Citadel on the hill of St.Oars, a complex that includes a fortress of the castle, a royal residence and a collegiate church, although due to pressure from the inhabitants of the city it was necessary to build a new church of San Antonio in the lower part
Paula today is somewhat more tired. Olivia with her 24 weeks weighs too much on these steep streets, so I have come to get an idea of what were the real houses, the historic-artistic city, the Romanesque collegiate church where Agnès Sorel's tomb is, the doors fortified, the Renaissance City Hall or the most prominent mansions such as Lansyer
Possibly Loches gives for a long morning. The fact is that it has given us time to eat and the town is full of bars and restaurant with terraces that seem very cozyRESTAURANTS IN THE VALLE DEL LOIRA | LOCHES: Sforza Grill Pizzeria, small Italian restaurant with menu of the day that we have chosen more for its terrace than for what it offered
The truth is that it was economical since we had some salads, pizza and pasta and coffee for 17.50 EUR but ...
... We would not recommend it! Slow, few waiters for all the people there were and food "no more". Loches stands out for its Touraine sausages, foie gras, confectionery or goat cheese. Better try other places
Already in the lower city, after eating, we continue to stroll in search of those picturesque and unique little shops that we like so much and we just found them. You already know what Paula likes books
This is how we arrived at the banks of the Indre River where we said goodbye to our walk through a city that we loved ... although it was not going to be the only one
Montrèsor, the most pleasant surprise of the trip
I already walk to Valençay and just 20 minutes from Loches, we had a small villa with a castle of S.XI that is among the most beautiful villages France
We had read a lot about it to such an extent that it attracts our attention since it lives outside the tourist crowds, especially on the other side of the Indre River. His name is Montrèsor and so it looks in view of our drone Parsley
Montrèsor is that beautiful charming town that meets all the expectations that a lover of this type of localities brings, with its cobbled streets embedded between beautiful houses, its beautiful Renaissance castle, its Gothic collegiate church or its medieval atmosphere but which has an added special charm on the other side of the river, in an old laundry on the banks of the Indrois
Count the legend that once there was a prince with a dreaming servant to marry a beautiful princess who, exhausted by his travels, stopped in front of the rocks of a modest village and went to sleep. At that moment, a lizard landed on his face and when the servant realized and was going to kill her, he woke up and the little animal disappearing into a hole in the rock, reappeared covered with gold. The prince had a castle built immediately in that place and called him Mon Trésor, putting his servant in charge and achieving so much wealth that he could marry the princess of his dreams. Nice story, right? Without a doubt, the views invite you to imagine it
Crossing a small wooden bridge you enter its streets, its balconies and its peace and quiet. In fact, we decided to have a quiet coffee here (EUR 4.10) before one of (coming soon).
Valençay, castle, gardens and treaty
30 kilometers after leaving Montrèsor we reach the town of Valençay whose words of the writer George Sand would not go unnoticed: "This place is one of the most beautiful on earth and no king has a more picturesque park". The reality is that today "alone" (more than enough) worth visiting Valençay Castle and the adjacent gardens (13.50 EUR each)
The former feudal residence of the Prince of Talleyrand was transformed between the 15th and 16th centuries by the Estampes family, who transformed it to the Renaissance style that we see today intermingled with the classic of the 3 typical columns (Doric, Ionian and Corinthian) although perhaps, Seeing other castles in the area, it is not its exterior that attracts our attention but its immense interior galleries with corridors of more than 80 meters that link rooms to which more ornate in the so-called "Empire style" furniture
We couldn't leave without walking through its gardens ... they are impressive! After Villandry, of the most beautiful of the Loire, 53 hectares that house the so-called Forest of the Princes (cave and bats included), the Park of the Gamos with the largest labyrinthine game in France and many others. Ah, has anyone read about the Valençay treaty? Well, he was the one who released the Spanish king Ferdinand VII during the French Empire of Napoleon Bonaparte and was signed here
What to see in Amboise (besides the most beautiful night show)
From Valençay to Amboise there is exactly 1 hour with a small toll (EUR 4) or something else because we have stopped refueling for the first time these days (EUR 35.11 at € 1,312 / l). Here we have headed directly to the accommodation chosen today that has private parking.THE EXPERIENCE OF SLEEPING IN A MANSION OF THE 16TH CENTURY:
It is our fifth day of the route and we can say that we have already slept in a renovated castle, a vintage country house and a troglodyte cave. What could complete the experience? Today we have decided to spend the night in the Le Clos d'Amboise, a 16th-century mansion that belonged to Sir John Langlois (Marshal of Logis of Louis XIV and Louis XV) a few minutes walk from the historic center
Both the main building and its gardens retain the charm of past times, especially the area of the pool that is sheltered between rose bushes and cedars that we have taken advantage of with the last rays of sun before going for a walk in Amboise
Many people come only for their restaurant but as we will see at breakfast, included, we have preferred to take advantage of to enjoy the atmosphere of the city. No doubt the Le Clos d'Amboise It is an experience in itself and a highly recommended accommodation of average price and good location
Amboise is a medieval city located on the banks of the Loire which also has the privilege of having served as the abode of many historical figures in its long history. An orientation map could be very similar to the following, although unlike Tours, it would not be explicitly necessary because it is a city to walk around
They say that Francis I lived in Amboise but surely we all sound more like the great Davinci Leornado that counts in Clos LucéL with a must see of the place where he spent the last three years of his life (we will do it tomorrow morning). Rue Nationale takes us directly to the clock tower T, a tower built in the fifteenth century and looks splendidly renovated and, from there, directly to the main pedestrian streets of shops and restaurants around the main square of the city that gives access to the Amboise Castle C
Here came one of our great successes on this trip through the Loire Valley that has been buy early tickets to a night show that would leave us with our mouths open, so we changed our reservation for the corresponding tickets and decided to dine in this lively area.RESTAURANTS IN THE VALLE DEL LOIRA | AMBOISE: Creperie Le Vinci, restaurant with all kinds of food, crepes, salads, ...
It is the typical tourist terrace in the area, with expensive prices but where we dined luxury (48.50 EUR). The dishes are plentiful although it is possible to find many more affordable outside this area. The terrace is paid at the place with the best atmosphere in the city in front of the Amboise Castle
The show at this time of year (end of July) begins somewhat later, at 22:30, because they wait for the sun to go down, so we have decided to change again and take some jackets in case it refreshes and take a walk to banks of the Loire (and incidentally see that our hotel-restaurant is overflowing, what a fame, haha)
He Amboise C Castle Be part of our list of (coming soon). Its main structure stems from the fortification built in the thirteenth century although it is King Charles VIII who begins the most notable modifications, including the chapel of Saint-Hubert
However, if the castle looks wonderful, it is the sunset over the Loire who gives us the last minutes of daylight of another almost perfect day
Night comes and Amboise Castle is transformed. We had previously been told about this show and we didn't want to miss it. Is about "The Prophecy of Amboise", a show of lights, colors and sound in which more than 250 people participate on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for 22 EUR / person, including audio guide in other languages and numbered seat which can be accessed from 30 minutes before starting.
What to tell without breaking the surprise? For us it has been one of the best night shows we have seen throughout the world, where the scene is the castle itself and whose narrative is able to immerse you, understand more or less the language, between two very distant periods (the 1900s and those of Louise of Savoy)
Paula today if she is somewhat more tired since Oli has moved a lot in her belly for the duration of the event (is it true that they listen?). A day that began in the Castle of Chenonceau (the most beautiful of the Loire for us) and that took us through Loches, Montrèsor (the big surprise) and Valençay, ended up in the Castle of Amboise and in a medieval city worth enjoying. Tomorrow our route continues although we won't get up early, right?
Isaac and Paula (and Oli), from Amboise (France)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 201.21 EUR