Castles in the air (Part I)…France

I guess that for many of us, the idea of castles is restricted to fairytales and “Game of thrones” type series. So of course when I got the opportunity to see real castles, curiosity got the better of me. The Loire valley castles are a two  hour drive from Paris. As always, I am fascinated by buildings that can stand the test of time over centuries but also the exquisite architectural designs of a bygone era.

This post showcases three of the best castles in the region. If you’d like to see what the castles look like inside, I’ll be posting additional parts.I suppose that visiting places like this also reminds you of how someone always pays the price for others to live so opulently, hence in today’s world, castles are more likely to remain in the air for most of us.

Chateau de Chenonceau

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Chenonceau Chateau (one of the prettiest we visited) was built over the River Cher in traditional Renaissance style, and is known as the Chateau des Dames (the Ladies’ Castle) because of the influence of the famous women who lived there. The chateau was built in 1513 by Catherine Briconnet, embellished by Diance de Poitiers and Catherine de Medicis, and saved from destruction during the Revolution by Madame Dupin.

There is a restaurant on this property where we had the most sumptuous lunch

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The beautiful rose gardens are a lovely feature of this castle and influenced by all the women who occupied it

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This castle is built over a moat and the painting below illustrates what it looked like in its heyday.

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Chateaux Chambord

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This really picturesque castle was a hunting lodge would you believe? The tendency those days was to compete with the Jones’s so if a king saw a castle he liked somewhere, he would build one even better. Chambord Castle was built for King Francois 1st.

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This castle has an  intricate stone “double helix” staircase leading up to the spires and turrets of the rooftop terrace and is thought to have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
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The château of Chambord was included on the first historical monuments list in France in 1840; the forest and wall were listed in 1997. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

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The hunting grounds take up about 60kms (sq) of space. Thank goodness for greater equality these days:-)

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Château d’Amboise

The dominant renaissance style of  Château d’ Amboise in the Loire Valley, France, is there for all to see well before you even enter the town as its position high above the Loire river makes it obvious from quite a distance as you drive along the approach roads on the river bank.

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The chateau was built on the foundations of an old fortress, its position perched high on a promontory over looking the Loire, offering a solid defence against any intruders. The chateau was seized by Charles VII in the mid 1400’s after its owner, Louise d’Amboise was involved in a plot against the monarchy. He was later to be pardoned but the chateau remained in the hands of the king.

The picture below gives a sense of the foundations on which this castle is built.

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Flanked on the other side is the Loire river

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This castle is set among beautiful formal gardens as depicted below:

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Below is the pretty town surrounding this castle

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Look out for my post on part II which will take you inside and back in time:-)

 

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25 thoughts on “Castles in the air (Part I)…France

  1. What a delight this is Chevvy!

    I just kinda sat there lingering over each shot. I couldn’t help imagining how nice it would be to have lunch in that formal garden at Cheverny Castle. I could so see myself having a nice baguette, some good cheese and a couple of glasses of wine right there under the trees. Would you like to join me?

    You mentioned that you are a believer in the Law of Attraction. I am too. You have just given me some exquisite visuals to use to help me manifest my dreams of traveling in France and Germany.

    Thank you my dear!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Bonjour Madame G. – that seems only fitting if we are going to have wine on the fine lawns of this beautiful castle. Following my reading your post on Germany this morning, I thought I’d but some meat on the bones of your dream. Yeah on the law of attraction – I have put it to the test several times. If you go through my various travel posts, you’ll see how some of it unfolded. I think I got serious about it when I missed my flight in Monterrey-Mexico and spent the weekend there on my own (no one believed that I spent it on my own when I got back to work) 🙂 But apart from doing other stuff, I read the Secret by Rhonda Byrne and starting testing the theory. If you read about our trip to Egypt that’s one case in point – where I picked up a picture in a travel magazine on a plane and decided that I was going to take a photograph from the same spot which is what I got to do.
      This trip was taken at the worst of times financially but I can be a risk taker that way. So we threw caution to the wind and celebrated my birthday in Paris and then onto the Montreux Jazz Festival – had the time of our lives and I have never regretted it.
      So for sure – let’s meet on the lawns for lunch and take in a show at the Moulin Rouge – it’s not impossible:-)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yassss! You better preach Chevvy!
        I love this story. I also know that The Secret works because I lived my life that way before I knew that it was a universal law! I can’t say that I have a story that is as marvelous as yours with respect to travel but I also haven’t really had a lot of time to devote to dreaming big. You see, my father and I were the primary care givers for my mother from 2008 until 2012 when she passed away. Chevvy I had everything imaginable hit me between the years of 2005 through 2012. I am just now recovering from some of that stuff. As I write this, I am currently undergoing something of a transition. I am not sure where it’s going but I am praying for something big. I am ready! By the way, I have this video of Marvin Gaye singing Mercy Mercy Me and What’s going on at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1980 (I think it was there anyway) that I love because he stops and talks about his spiritual beliefs.
        Check this out:

        And yes my friend, Let’s take in a show at the Moulin Rouge and thank you for reminding me that it’s possible!
        🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Well Sister, let’s hold that dream. I’m sorry about the trials and your sad loss. Hopefully you’ve come through a 7 year cycle that will turn. My cycles for new beginnings are 9 years. I’m at the beginning again so like you it is also a transition phase for me too. So maybe you and I have work to do together. Liked the Marvin Gaye clip by the way. Liked the words”Our purpose is to glorify his creation” I’d ask myself how in my case – I guess we’re trying right here huh?

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Chevvy:
            We must have work to do together or we would’t have started talking. As you say, there are no coincidences!
            By the way, I agree and I think that our work here is certainly a great way of glorifying His creation. Especially the work that you are doing with photography and poetry.
            I think that my job is to bring inspiration by prompting people to think, reminisce, or question–so that they can then go on and create something that will glorify His creation.
            Either way, I think that we are doing our work if people feel better after leaving our places than they did when they came.
            🙂

            Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Louisa. Well hope you can bear testament to my perspective. We just did a day trip on a Sunday in the height of Summer and it was really beautiful. I’ve been through Paris a couple of times- more work related. This one was more special as part of my birthday celebration. Best three days in Paris before we went on to Montreux. Look forward to seeing you for my next post:-)

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey there – well if you’re reading my blog, don’t be jealous of these dates I’m making with the girlfriends. Actually I was working on my bucket list the other day and I don’t mind going back to Europe but I’ve narrowed it down for now to Italy,Romania and Turkey, India and Equador and Peru. Definitely would like to go back to New York. No particular order though- here I’ll seek guidance from the universe:-)

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      1. Secret – off to Germany & then NY in June! As fabulous as Europe is, can’t wait to go back to my most favourite city! I believe Prague & Budapest are magical as is Turkey (never been but mean to). Of course, then there’s your country, Australia, spectacular NZ, Buenos Aires, Rio… Hey, would you be so kind as to lend me some of your extra time and money? 😉

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Oh good for you and have a great time and be sure to take some pictures to share. It’s also good that you’re going in Summer. Your bucket list is quite long. All I can say is that our currency is very favorable for tourism at the moment. Time I can spare – money I aint got. I need to be paid in Euros or dollars now:-). Nevertheless, I’ve never been one to shy away from making things happen, so let’s see what happens. Yeah, from posts I’ve seen, Prague and Budapest do look good. No harm in dreaming right? 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

            1. Yes – a couple of years ago we had the dream of seeing the new year in at Times square. That was the year of that big flood in New York. I guess it makes sense to want a white Christmas coming from the heat you endure. Aint nothing wrong with dreaming….

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful castles and architecture. Double helix? Wow, two stairways, no waiting! I appreciate the beauty of all these, but castles in the sky are OK with me. I’ve always been drawn to small, cozy spaces. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello my dear friend. I agree on both counts. They are beautiful to look at and admire from an artistic point of view but I too am happy to have my feet on the ground. Many of these beautiful monuments were built unfortunately on the back of greed and exploitation. The positive now is that they remain a thing of beauty and sustain the tourism economy. I haven’t forgotten Eleanor Rooseveldt’s guesthouse Btw.:-)

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