The Loire Valley, just outside Paris should be on your make time to do list when visiting Paris, France. The Loire Valley had remained a mystery to me – what was it famous for and why, what grows there and what is the temperature like. City Wonders Tours offered a Loire Valley Castles & Winetasting Full Day Trip Tour. What better way to explore the Loire Valley. The opportunity to visit three Castles – Chateau de Chambord, Chateau de Nitray, and Chateau de Chenonceau without driving, was certainly  treat.

Chateau de Chambord

Chateau de Chambord…The King only lived here 72 days…

Daniel and Kotryna, City Wonders guides, filled us in on some juicy tidbits of  history and information. King Francis definitely wanted to make certain you KNEW whose Castle this belonged to.

View from above overlooking the vast estate of King Francis…only a portion mind you…72 days…

These are the stairs that took you to the top where there were many walkways for optimum viewing pleasure…72 days….unbelievable

Truly a grand Chateau and the garden….was gorgeous!

Recently renovated, the garden was long and colorful. Full of pollinator plants and wonderfully pruned trees.

Placard describing the restoration plan…

There were a lot of the perennials that we use in our gardens stateside.

carefully pruned trees created an allee, defining the exterior edge of this garden.

The Castle itself had very little inside. All of the furniture that King Francis used was brought in and went with him when he left. During wartime, anything that remained was sold, stolen or has not been recovered – yet. There was this beautiful stove of sorts that had been restored which would heat certain rooms. not like our wood stoves mind you, but a floor to ceiling model – that Castle was COLD! Just goes to show you, consider your climate when admiring homes from lands far away in different climates. Keeping up with the Joneses goes waaaaay back!

Chateau de Nitray

Respecting that Chateau de Nitray is a private home, I will refrain from sharing the beauty that was found on this property. It is certainly a must see!

Currently a private home with an operating winery and food…

Nestled on a lane off the main road, was our mid-day stop that included our first tasting and lunch. We were greeted by the Owner who proved to be a gracious host. We first sampled Chateau de Nitray Touraine Sauvignon – light, citrus fragrance and smooth. The smell of hearty food was in the air and our host explained that we would be served Chateau de Nitray Touraine Les Meuriers with our lunch.

Oh the lunch! The tomato’s, new potato’s and perfectly cooked chicken was delicious!!

Served from this table with large pans overflowing with local goodness.

I have to share – I had two helpings of the tomato’s – I did not eat stewed tomato’s….until now. Perfectly seasoned tomato’s, the potato’s, accompanied by the chicken – heaven on a plate! Did I mention the cheese board and bread?

There is correct way to slice cheese and a correct placement of the bread. Ask me for the details….

The goat cheese just danced across the bread and the cheese round melted on my tongue…just delightful! With full bellies, we did our best to help the local economy and left with bottles of delicious wines for later. Nothing wrong with making the memory linger.

Chateau de Chenonceau

Our final stop of the day was at Chateau de Chenonceau. In my humble opinion, City Wonders saved the best of the Loire Valley for last.

This is the kind of Castle that brings a smile to any Princess’s face.

First had another wine tasting…

The wine cellar greeted us for the day’s second wine tasting in the Loire Valley.

Daniel led our group in tasting the whites and the reds offered.

As we left the wine cellar, we headed towards the Castle…and were in awe!

Daniel told me earlier in the day that this was most likely the Castle I would love the best – HE WAS SO RIGHT!

From the foyer with restored floor….

A photo of the restored floor due to the high level of visitors…

The sides of the foyer had original tiles left tin place. I touched the original floor of a Princess…

The floral arrangements were voluptuous….

The floral arrangement in the foyer….bodacious

The painting that brought out the beautiful attributes of the reigning wife of King Henri, son of King Francis hangs in the bedroom of Queen Catherine de Medici. Quite the contrast between Diana de Portier, Duchess of Etampes who was considered beautiful. Keeping in mind that beauty in these days was pale white skin, no eyebrows, hair plucked for the appearance of a big forehead and pale skin. I think that someone did not like the competition.

Competition was fierce and seriously not kind. This was supposed to be a flattering image of Catherine de Medici….hmmm Not the best photo.

The bed of Catherine de Médicis

Throughout the bedroom, there were a lot of “C’s and H’s”. Talk about marking your territory…these letters were everywhere. The flowers chosen to accent the rooms from the property were outstanding!

This arrangement was beside the bed in the bedroom of Queen Catherine de Médicis.

Arrangement in one of the sitting rooms. The scent of the lilies drew you into this room…

Drawn outside where the canoes lazily graced the surrounding waters, I explored the grounds and gardens.To the gardens……

The gardens to the left of this phenomenal Castle.

One combination that really caught my eye….

The amazement of Wisteria in full bloom…

Wisteria after the visit of the bees….

Such abundant bloom accompanied by an orchestra of bees…….

Then, there was the other garden…..

Up close and personal gardens that emitted an intoxicating smell that drew you in…

Signs that reminded one to not walk on the grass…

This garden to the right of the Castle is where I would have hidden. Immersing myself into the magnificent grandeur and beauty of Chateau Chenonceau.

Unfortunately, we had to head back to the bus and head back to Paris. The thoughts of the day – the Castles, the food and the wine made for quite the conversation among strangers.

Thank you City Wonders (Daniel and Kotryna) for a terrific day in the Loire Valley.

Here are a few links to find out more:

City Wonders Tours

Chateau Chambord

Chateau de Nitray

Chateau de Chenonceau

Diane de Poitiers

Catherine de Medici

Recapping my day in the Loire Valley,

Teri, Cottage In The Court






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