Italian Minstrel

Italian Minstrel

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

France once more...

Chatea d'Amboise - Loire Valley

We took a short trip to the wonderful Loire Valley a few weeks ago, and to some extent you become accustomed to the the view of a chateau as they are so plentiful, however, this does not mean that you don't want to stop and stare! This is the Chateau d'Amboise which is so imposing and the town so charming, right on the banks of the River Loire, the longest river in France. Flowing through the Loire Valley it seems wide, with occasional islands in the centre creating sometimes dangerous conditions (quick-sand and hazardous whirlpools so we were told ) that catch out the unsuspecting traveller. The River Loire rises in the Ardeche at Mont Gerbier de Jonc and flows into the Bay of Biscay at St. Nazaire some 1020 kilometers later (that is 629 miles to us Imperialists). All along the Loire Valley there are vineyards, producing the lightest and most delicious of wines, mostly white, some reds, and plenty of 'methode traditionelle' sparkling wines which are every bit as good as champagne.

Known as the garden of France, the area between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes is a World Heritage Site, there being a great concentration of Chateaux, around 300!

Whilst in the Loire Valley we visited an antique fair at Chambord, yet another Chateau ( in fact the hunting lodge for King Francois I of France) where we spent the whole day looking at items of all descriptions, including things such as a copper turbotois, the pan in which you would cook turbot, what Mrs. Beeton would call a turbot-kettle, despite it not looking remotely like a kettle but rather kite-shaped. Surely only the French would have such fascinating things for sale!

We found some antique textiles and will be listing them over the next few weeks, as well as some gorgeous bronze curtain fitments, so keep a look out. But in the meanwhile feast your eyes on the chateau built purely as a hunting lodge of the King of France with 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, 84 staircases - and just marvel!

Chateau de Chambord