United States [National Geographic] magazine has this description of Loire Valley: "If you want to fully appreciate French style, you need to visit only two places: one is Paris, other is Loire Valley. If we say Paris where multiculturalism gathers to represent romantic and avant-garde side of France, Loire Valley is France's quiet and classic back garden.The beauty of Loire Valley lies in precipitation of history.
There are hundreds of castles, large and small, in Loire Valley, which are included in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. Among them, most famous castle of Chambord (Chateau de Chambord) and castle of Chenonceau (Chauteau de Chenonceau). Our itinerary for second day in Loire Valley was to visit these two castles.
When traveling, most unpredictable thing is weather. When we drove to Chambord Castle, it was overcast and light rain fell, but this did not affect our travel mood. By time we got to Chambord, rain had stopped. After we bought tickets we walked about 100 meters and what we saw was side of magnificent Chambord castle.
Château de Chambord, known as King of Castles, is largest and most famous in Loire Valley. Built by François I, father of French literature and art, in 1519 to show off his wealth, this hunting palace retains appearance and throne of a medieval fortress, including main tower of castle, four towers and two outbuildings. We can say that Chambord Castle is a perfect combination of medieval architecture and Italian Renaissance architecture.
After we walked around perimeter of castle, we approached main entrance to Chambord Castle. When buying tickets, we hired a guide, followed guide to visit each room from ground floor, listened to an explanation, and finally climbed to very top to see castle and entire garden from a bird's eye view.
Compared to majestic and magnificent exterior, interior of castle is relatively simple. This is the bedroom of King Louis XIV.
When visiting Château de Chambord, you should not miss most legendary double helix staircase, which is considered masterpiece of Leonardo da Vinci. Unique double spiral staircase, two groups of independent staircases are intertwined around a common axis, twisting upwards, its ingenuity lies in fact that two people ascending and descending at same time can see each other, but never meet.
Another important feature of Chambord Castle is wide roof terrace and 365 Renaissance chimneys, which are richly shaped and exquisitely carved.
Enjoy garden views from rooftop terrace. Standing on rooftop terrace, enjoy panoramic views of Les Cossons river and manicured French gardens surrounding it. The emerald green square lawn and beautiful cottage in distance are simple, neat and immaculate.
After leaving Chambord, we drove to Chenonceau Castle, known as "Queen of Castle". On way we pass city of Blois on banks of Loire. The tone of entire city of Blois is very harmonious, with white walls and black tiles, and red brick chimneys dotted on roof. A simple and beautiful stone bridge is thrown across river, forming a picturesque landscape with an ancient city. Due to rush, we only took pictures outside city.
The castle of Chenonceau is located near city of Blois, so we went there. Having parked car in parking lot and walked along this beautiful boulevard, it suddenly became clear that an openwork and exquisite castle came into view. At this time, weather improved and sun shone brightly.
Chatenonceau Castle is most romantic and feminine castle among castles of Loire Valley. It stands on banks of Loire River, Cher (Cher) River. Two stone piers are connected by a covered bridge with five holes in middle, like a huge covered bridge. Since castle of Chenonceau is home to many concubines and ladies of king, and was built by several talented women, plus two beautiful gardens, castle of Chenonceau is full of beauty and elegance. The most famous legend about this castle is the gossip between Henry II's concubine Diana and Princess Catalina.
What a great idea to build a whole castle on river! The reflection of running water makes people linger and forget to come back.
Marquis Tower is first main building left behind by Marquis Tower family, first generation of city lords.
First, let's go inside castle.
After careful care of past generations of hostesses, interior of castle shows luxury and elegance of French royal family.
The embankment across river Cher, lined with black and white tiles, later became a public place for court banquets.
Two huahua workers work at castle throughout year. They prepare bouquets for every room in castle every day. All flowers inside castle come from their own gardens. These fresh floral arrangements give Chenonceau endless charm, making castle bloom all year round. The whole castle is filled with feminine grace and delicacy, which is amazing.
Catherine's gardens outside castle. Admire picturesque western side of castle from paths of Catherine's Garden. It was noon when we arrived, there was plenty of light and castle we photographed was beautiful.
Diana's gardens are beautiful and impressive.
The butler's house.
The castle also has a beautiful 16th-century farm centered on Huahui workshop.
Catherine's stable on farm. The carriage gallery exhibits several exquisite carriages used by nobility in those days.
The flower garden next to farm.
The flower garden consists of 12 flower fields. More than a dozen gardeners have planted more than 100 varieties of cut flowers and 400 roses here. From here come flowers needed to decorate various halls of castle. We also saw many common and rare vegetables and plants.
Reluctantly leaving castle of Chenonceau, which exudes feminine charm all time.
Unfortunately, time is running out, we do not have time to appreciate scenery of Loire Valley, and we are going to hit road to Paris. Da Vinci's resting place is Royal Castle of Amboise, see you next time. Next time you should go in spring to enjoy "natural landscapes as beautiful and chaste as bride" described by Balzac; or visit Loire Valley in late autumn to experience "in stillness and vicissitudes of landscape, to soothe your lonely sadness". "State of mind.
A trip to Loire Valley in France ended great but with some regrets, but pace is still moving forward and I believe that in near future I will return to reunite with her.
[Original article, cite source, attach previous article about a trip to Loire Valley in France]
Travel notes and raiders in Loire Valley, France (part 1)