Well, so much for diligently posting my reflections on our wonderful 2014 French sojourn … but better late than never perhaps. It is June 2016 and we have just completed our planning for the upcoming 2 month drive through Spain, France and Italy, so researching is keeping me busy, but finally my Loire review is complete. Obviously some will disagree with my reaction but such is the nature of travel and personal responses to what we are privileged to see….
Looking back now, I think my own response to what we saw in the Loire region was coloured somewhat by the weather. It was mostly inclement and dull during our time there and our accommodation was not quite as good as we had expected. The owner of our lodgings was delightful – hilarious and entertaining, but that didn’t make up for the leaky roof and the disparity between the two rooms each couple was assigned. Ours was spacious and well-appointed while the other was what our friends termed “coffin-like”! Also, we didn’t have time see any of the other larger towns like Tours and Blois to compare them with Amboise. We did see some amazing sights and had a great time, with much laughter courtesy of our accommodation situation, yet I simply didn’t warm to the Loire like I did to the Dordogne and the Languedoc, both of which I loved.
What was missing? I do not know – the ambience of the area was prim and moody, and lacked the energy, colour and vibrancy that we saw in other French regions. We did, of course, visit some major attractions, and were duly blown away by their historical significance and the architecture – the two outstanding being Clos Lucé, the stunning home of Leonardo da Vinci for the final three years of his life, and the magnificent Chateau of Chenonceau. Clos Lucé was a real highlight for us all, and as we watched French school children swarm in to the place, it occurred to me how lucky they are to be able to live their history in such a wonderfully preserved site.
It is when I look at some of our photographs, that I realise we actually did rather a lot in three days, and on reflection, could not really do the area justice in that short time span, yet for me, in comparison to other places we stayed, the Loire fell a little flat. Despite that, I am still delighted to have spent some time there, and I would like to return with enough time to explore more fully- in the meantime, my photos continue to bring me great pleasure ….