As I said before, our primary goal was to see as many Chateaux as possible during our trip to Loire Valley in France. I only wanted to go inside a couple of them, but I wanted to see at least the outside of them all! Here is a listing of the ones I saw and a very little bit of information about them.
Chateau d’Amboise was built in the 15th-16th centuries on an existing medieval fort.
The Chateau I wanted to see the most was Chenonceau. so we went there first. Because it is set back by the river with a lovely garden around it, the only way to even see this chateau was to pay the entrance fee and walk a little ways. It was definitely worth it! I could have spent all day here, wandering through the palace rooms and admiring the details, looking at all the flowers, taking photographs, eating at the café, strolling along the path by the river…It was a very relaxing, beautiful place We did not enter the wax museum (not in the budget or interesting to me at this point), but it is an available option on the grounds as well. We had planned to do two chateaux this day: Chenonceau and Chambord. This meant that we needed to leave Chenonceau between noon and 1300. We had thought that 2-3 hours would be enough here, but it wasn’t. I would have loved to spend twice the time and just wander around…hike along the river for some better views and explore the grounds better. If you go here, make sure to give yourself plenty of time! It really is lovely!
Below: Here are some shots from in and around Chenonceau Chateau. Make sure that you go downstairs to the kitchen area. There is a prep room, cooking room, butcher room, dining room and more…it was very impressive.
As we were leaving Chenonceau, we decided to get a bit for lunch. That’s me with a croquet monsieur (a toasted ham and cheese sandwich) and the baby with a giant yellow hot dog…which she ate ALL of!
Chambord was fairly close, and #2 on my “must” list, being the largest chateau in the Loire Valley and unique in its French Renaissance architecture (according to Wikipedia). When we arrived, I was delighted that there was so much free parking available and that this palace was visible from several angles. There was only a fee to tour the inside so we decided to save money and walk around, eat ice cream, and let our daughter run around the lawn. This is an especially great area for biking and going on a picnic. Near this 16th century chateau is a wonderful little chapel, an equestrian area, a cheese factory, and more little tourist shops that carry local wine and food.