The Barefoot Blogger is off to explore the middle of France: the chateaus and vineyards of the Loire Valley.
Along with me on the three day adventure is my good friend Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France. The tour expert extraordinaire and I started out on the three day trip, including two days on either end, from Sete where I drove to meet her.
Our home base on this trip is an Airbnb ‘chalet’ in Amboise. From there we can easily reach more chateaus and wine than we can possibly cram into three days.
Château Royal du Amboise
The Chateau Amboise is in the center of the charming city that shares its same name. The first trenches of the château were built in the 4th century to defend the residents of the town.
The château was the home and place to stay for the Valois and Bourbon kings. Charles VIII was born here. King Francis and children of Henri II and Catherine de Medici were raised here. Leonardo da Vinci, friend of King Francis, is buried on the property.
Gardens at Chateau de Amboise
Although it was an overcast morning, views of the gardens at Chateau de Amboise were dramatic.
Bidding Chateau de Amboise “avoir,” the town of Amboise was next stop.
Chateau Clos Luce and da Vinci
The small château, Clos Luce, is within easy walking distance of downtown Amboise. It was here that Leonardo da Vinci, the invited guest of King Francis I, lived between 1516 and 1519 when he died. The castle itself houses over 40 of da Vinci’s inventions. An audio-visual presentation of his life and work, presented by IBM, instructs tourists as they move through the rooms.
(From this point I changed cameras. More photos later!)
A surprise at the wine cave
After a day of châteaux, it was wine time at the nearby wine bottler and merchant recommended in the Rick Steves travel guide.
To our surprise, we met up with a most unexpected celebrity who, rumored to be depressed and somewhere in hiding, we persuaded to join us.
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