As many of you know, I have old friends in town and we've recently returned from a long weekend in the Loire Valley. I'd never been to this region at all and have to say I was blown away by the castles we visited, the tiny towns we drove through, the meals we had, and the hospitality and friendliness that we encountered along the way (save for one couple but that's a story for another time...)
I just wanted to share a few of my favorite pictures to give you an idea of what we saw. I had a BLAST!
Azay-le-Rideau was one of my FAVORITE of all the castles we saw, and was kind of off the beaten path. I loved the grounds and the little town surrounding the castle and really loved the time we spent there.
Chenonceaux was perhaps the coolest castle, with the long gallery/hall stretching across the river. It was awesome, but very crowded. We called it the "Disneyland of castles" since the tour buses filled the parking lots and there were TONS of people on the grounds and in the castle itself. I would have loved to have visited when it was a bit more empty and even a bit cooler outside. We spent a good part of the morning there and once we left, the entrance was deserted, so it's definitely something to hit up either very early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
Of course, we had tons of great meals and even better wine! My favorite meal was in the little Medieval town of Chinon where we ate at the Musée Animée du Vin, an awesome all-you-can-eat, all you can drink place with hilarious owners. Would definitely recommend this place, as it was one of the most fun and BEST meals that I've ever had in France.
All in all, it was an amazing weekend and I cannot wait to go back and explore more again soon. Have any of you been to the region? Any recommendations for next time?