Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The clock tower in the village of Amboise

Uber-late post, but better late than never, right? I went to Amboise way back in October, which is in central France, in the Loire Valley. It was kind of like Germany in that there are SO many castles around here... I got the chance to visit 3: Chateau Loire, Villandry, and Usse. They were quite impressive, and they weren't even the huge main ones (Chenonceau is a pretty well-known chateau in the area), and I was cheateau'd out. 

In the region, there are lots of rocky mountains/cliffs- many houses are carved into the cliffs, which I thought was really cool. I saw entire apartment buildings carved into the mountainsides- complete with balconies! Imagine living in a cave house. 

Loire Valley/Amboise, taken from the tower of Chateau Amboise

Chateau Villandry- prettiest gardens I've seen while i've been here! 
This place was HUGE- and very manicured.

My favorite was the love garden. If you look closely, the four squares are different, symbolizing the 4 different types of love (tender, passionate, fickle, courtly). Get me one of these in my yard...

View of the chateau from the end of the love garden

Then we went to Chateau Usse- the inspiration for sleeping beauty. More commonly known as Sleeping Beauty's castle. The guy who wrote Sleeping Beauty actually stayed here for a while, and it was his inspiration for writing it. Its beautiful from the outside, but the inside is an absolute freak show- complete with mannequins of sleeping beauty and prince charming. And the evil witch and her cauldron at the top of the tower. It resembled a disneyland ride, but done very badly, and with mismatched period dress. Random. They could have done a wayy better job with the interior. And lose the freaky looking mannequins.

All in all , the Loire Valley was beautiful. The French royalty built chateaux all over the Loire Valley to get away from the bustle of Paris. In fact, most of the French royalty ruled from here, and not in Paris. That way they weren't harassed/taken prisoner by their constituents. Good times. There's not much to do here besides enjoy the countryside scenery, which I can only do so much of. What can I say- I'm a city girl!


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