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Loire Valley

Tavant is a tiny ancient town near Chinon in the Loire region of France. We spent a week at an 18th century ruin that was renovated 4 years ago. It was clean and charming and a convenient drive to all the major chateaus the Loire is famous for.

I’ve been told the French are very private people. This is one reason so many continue to live with large stone walls surrounding their properties. Here are some pics of our Homeaway rental with the high fences!

Our first morning we woke to a huge flea market! It’s held once a year and is called a broccante. It’s like a big neighborhood garage sale and a market. Though vendors came from all over France to sell things….. used clothing, old ceramics, knives, sewing machines…. anything they want to get rid of or resell

Dave loved the food! He enjoyed a grilled duck breast sandwich with lots of butter on a baguette

This flea market was on Easter Sunday and no symbols of Easter were seen!

This is a burned to blackness bread sold at the market!

Our first day of chateaus we visited two. Here is Villandry, a huge home surrounded by manicured gardens just beginning to bloom Since it was April there were no crowds and few flowers. This is a family owned and managed Chateau!

A short drive away was Azay-de-Rideau which looks like a fairytale castle and is surrounded by water…. a moat

The next day we drove to the city of Amboise. It was a lovely little town full of small gardens. The two castles were owned by a man who hosted Leonardo da Vinci his last several years of life

Royal Chateau d’ Amboise

Chapel where Leonardo Da Vince is buried

Clos Lucé is the other Chateau and has elaborate playground like gardens which both adults and children love. It’s next door to the Chateau and is where Leonardo lived and died

Another day we toured Ussé. This is known as Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

The day turned rainy. We toured around ancient towns and stopped in Saumur for lunch and waited for the weather to clear

Lunch was a puff pastry filled with mushrooms and pork and served with a cream sauce of course! Dessert was a beautiful chocolate display

Flat bottomed boats of the Loire

Mistletoe is an evergreen plant that grows on branches of trees like these all over France

Chinon is a lovely city known for great restaurants. With the advice of a neighbor we chose l’Oceanic. The fortress is a ruin but historically interesting with great views!

Lunch at l’Oceanic for 18E each!

Hake with whole grain mustard sauce on top. Served with a smear of pumpkin, an asparagus spear and a crisp wafer of squid ink

Puréed mullet in a timbale shape and a bright green seafood tasting wafer on top. Bits of mushroom and edamame

A skewer of French bread!

Dessert is a snowball of sweetened egg white covered with toasted coconut. With a bit of mascarpone ice cream and fruit jam. Crumbles of meringue add a bit of crunch!

Phyllo wrapped tube of apple with raspberry sorbet

Chinon is also known for its markets

Coquille St Jacques in France are called scallops in the US!

Croque Monsieur are everywhere. A gourmet grilled cheese sandwich with white bechamel sauce. Buy them prepared and heated or take hem home to heat up!

Our last day in the Loire we drive 1 1/2 hours to see Chaumont and then Chenonceau

Chaumont is my favorite because it uses its interior space that is not renovated as modern art galleries

Chenonceau is very large beautiful and popular The interiors are magnificent and the floral arrangements inspiring

We ended our time in Tavant with a private tour of the impressive frescoes in St Nickolas Cathedral given by an art historian Most were in the crypt and couldn’t be photographed

Tavant is a lovely village near most of the chateaus. They stack their wood neatly and uniformly as all over France

2 responses »

  1. What a beautiful trip! Thank you for sharing, Nina.


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