Sunday, 19 November 2017

Monday's Loire Valley chateau...Chateau de Villandry

External view of Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley

Chateau de Villandry is is famous for its beautiful gardens and it's what draws us back for a visit year after year. We try and visit the gardens at different times of the year as they change with seasonal planing, with springtime probably our favourite. Gardens aside, over time we have also come to appreciate the delights of the chateau itself something we have in the past tended to promote less than the gardens,which can be visited alone.

table set out in the dining room at Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley

The interior should be part of you visit as it is beautifully furnished...

a rather pink  bedroom at Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley including canopied bed

and contains some unique features like the ceiling of the oriental drawing room.

fine detail of the ornate ceiling in the oriental drawing room of Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley

Kitchens of Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley with many kitchen utensils on display

One of the major benefits of a visit inside is the climb to the top of the tower where the best views over the gardens are to be had.

elevated view of the gardens at Chateau de Villandry in the Loire Valley

It is worth noting that during their winter season (6/11/17 to 31/03/18) they offer reduced rates of : chateau and gardens : 8.5 euros and gardens only : 4.5 euros

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Loire Valley church on Sunday Saint Julien Tours

The church of Saint Julien in Tours is the former abbey church of an old Benedictine abbey on the site, Its origin dates back to the 6th century with the church you see today mainly from the 13th century. It is a church that we have never found open over the many years of visiting Tours. 

It had been closed for many years due to its dangerous condition but even though we think that has been resolved we still always seemed to find it locked. I think at one time it would open on patrimoine day with a limited number of people allowed in. Anyway, on our last visit we found workmen leaving the building and asked for a quick look inside and they obliged!  

Inside,the church is cathedral-like with its beautiful stained glass windows, imposing pillars and ceiling.

Bridges of Tours

The city of Tours here in the Loire Valley is split by both the river Cher and the mighty Loire river. The Loire is crossed no fewer than six times at the north of the city. Its most famous bridge is of course the 18th century 'Pont-Wilson' (above).

This is the 18th century 'Pont Suspendu de Saint-Symphorien', suspension bridge which connects the banks of the river to the island 'Aucard' on the river. The bridge nowadays is used only for pedestrians and cyclists.

This is the 'Pont Mirabeau' which used to be the main arterial entry point for vehicle access before the construction of the auto-route bridge.

In the distance above is the 'modern' (1960) bridge 'Pont Napoléon' which links south to north over the 'Ile Simon'

Friday, 17 November 2017

Chateau de the shadow of its illustrations neighbours

When visiting the city of Tours here in the Loire Valley and seeking out its chateau we are sure some people might be slightly disappointed at what they find, especially if it is after visiting Chambord or Chenonceau . The chateau here is perhaps low down on any itinerary for 'must see' places in this fine city but they do try and make best use of it as an exhibition space for contemporary arts including paintings, photography and sculptures. They have permanent and temporary exhibitions with the last temporary one (ended at end of October) being an exhibition of photographs by Willy Ronis in collaboration with the Jeu de Paume in Paris. 

It is free to look around the small part of the chateau that is open to the public with a nominal entrance for some exhibitions, so if you are in the city you should pop in for a look!

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Saint Martin Basilica in Tours - a jewel in the crown of the Loire Valley

The Basilica of Saint Martin in Tours was looking resplendent yesterday under a November sun and blue sky. The recent external renovation made it give of a golden light...beautiful!