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We left Paris yesterday in our brand new Renault Grand Scenic wagon – 8 kms on the clock when we left. The sun was shining, and the road was relatively quiet as we drove out. Not so on the road into Paris – it was bumper to bumper for miles. Paris was good to us – we had brilliant weather which allowed us to cram in so much, and I loved every second of the time we spent there. Without exception, the Parisians we encountered were helpful and courteous. At some stage, I might have to return though, to tick off the few bucket list items that remain….

But for now we are in gorgeous Chateau country, in the Loire – Amboise to be exact, and we are experiencing rain and thunder! On the way here we had a half day at Versailles, and it fully met my expectations – extravagantly opulent, but so beautiful inside and out. We managed to see the palace, the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon before the rains came, and all were worth the effort. The grounds are utterly beautiful, manicured and landscaped, with the most lovely topiary trees.

After Versailles, we hit the road and in no time we arrived at our B&B – La Maison Blanche, a C17th house, run by the delightful Annick. We have an ambient room in the barn conversion, and at the moment, we are gathered around the table in our room, drinking beautiful French wine and eating delicious cheese, which are both so incredibly cheap in the supermarkets.

This morning we had breakfast in the dining room and were so pleased to have some fresh fruit and muesli – the strawberries coming from Annick’s garden. Next stop was the laverie (laundromat), where we managed to work the machines with the help of a very nice French gentleman, who spoke very little English, but I was able to converse with him in French – my French language lessons are proving invaluable!

Because of the inclement weather, we chose to go to the chateau at Azay-Le-Rideau, as the focus is on the interior rather than the gardens – it surely isn’t the weather to be wandering around outside – thunder is booming overhead as I write. As we approached the Chateau, I had a vision of Rapunzel leaning out of the first tower we came upon! While quite subdued and understated in comparison to Versailles, it would nevertheless have been grand in its day. The furnishings are quite exquisite, and the tapestries quite stunning. As we walked around the moat we could see the chateau reflected in the water … despite the overcast conditions. Tomorrow, we hope for an improvement in the weather, as there is much to do ….



Travellers tip – do not take usable Wifi connection for granted, even if your accommodation purports to have it – it has been very intermittent in Paris and now here in Amboise.