The Loire’s Castles and Gardens

Chateau Villandry

Touring in the Loire Valley means you don't have to travel far to see the grand chateaus and pretty villages that dot the landscape. John and I stayed in one place, Chenonceaux, and found a multitude of treasures on short day trips along and over the rivers that wind through this green, broad valley. The farthest we drove was to Fontevraud Abbey. Fontevraud was high on my list because I'm ... Read Full Article

An Insider’s View of Nantes, France

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Recently, I caught up with Kate Thomas, an American Francophile who currently makes her home in Sainte-Luce sur Loire, a northeast suburb of Nantes. She was gracious enough to share with me all of the reasons she loves this singular city, located in western France - just 30 miles from the Atlantic coast. What brought you to Nantes, Kate? I arrived in Nantes four years ago completely by ... Read Full Article

Chartres Cathedral: “Clad in a Garment of Gems”

Chartres Cathedrale by night - Guillermo Osorio

  The greatest Gothic cathedral in France stands in Chartres, a pretty town on the Eure River in the Loire Valley. Chartres is only an hour by train or car from Paris, and many visitors make it a day trip — ride through the countryside, tour the cathedral, have lunch, ride back — and some wonder why all the fuss over one more medieval stone church with soaring spires, flying buttresses, ... Read Full Article

Loire Valley: Ladies, Leonardo, and Sleeping Beauty

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France's Loire Valley is renowned for its magnificent chateaus. Scores are scattered over the landscape and choosing which to see is a challenge. On this leg of our journey, John and I rented a car and made our home base in the quiet village of Chenonceaux, staying in a hotel just 300 meters from the chateau. Chenonceau Chateau is one of the most visited sites in France for good reason. Elegantly ... Read Full Article

Exploring Blois, Chambord, and Cheverny

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The 3:47 train from Paris (sounds like an Agatha Christie title) slid swiftly southward into the green Loire Valley, and by 5:30 John and I were in Blois. The hilly town of 50,000 people, rising from the banks of the wide Loire River, was the first stop on this tour of the valley and its famous chateaus. Armed with maps from the tourist office, we set off in the rain to explore. The Old Town ... Read Full Article