The Loire Valley: Chenonceau and Chaumont sur Loire
After Mont St. Michel, we hopped back in the car and drove to Amboise, which was our home base for touring the grand chateaux of the Loire Valley. On Saturday May 12th, we tackled Chenonceau, which was exquisite, and the focus of many royals including Catherine de Medici. Although she was not a looker, her chateau and the gardens are...
Dave and Eric were struck at how every room in Chateau de Chenonceau had a fresh arrangement of flowers in virtually every room. Although they were dwarfed a bit by the size and grandeur of the rooms, they were works of art each and every one of them. Notice in these pictures, not only the fresh flowers but the artwork, tapestries, ceilings and furniture... stunning!
After hunting down a former Ohio State University exchange student and friend Jeremy, we went to the chateau Chaumont sur Loire. In an attempt to boost tourism and local interest, this chateau has chosen to primarily focus on the gardens surrounding the partially renovated property. Each year the gardens are themed with plantings and installations to match. This year the extensive gardens had a "modern art" theme.... and they were pretty out there - very modern art-ish, like a “flower bed” of brooms, a bed of orange flowers centered around a huge man-made orange peel and a bed of garden gnomes. E and D, the gardeners in the group, were interested enough to tour the grounds, but B and K stuck to the chateau itself, which was also quirky. The maintenance/renovation was spotty, and big chunks of it had not been renovated but were hung with installations of modern art. K and B independently decided it would make a great setting for a horror film. We were warned about this chateau as a choice by Monsieur Maloisel... we should have listened!