There is nothing like summing up your spring break with a little château hunting. Upon returning from Corsica, I quickly headed on over back to my friend’s house to embark on a three-day/two-night road trip to the Val de Loire (Loire Valley) with the couple that she has spent the past year living with. Uncertain of where we’d be heading exactly, I just napped quietly in the car and awoke to find ourselves in a small town, Blois.
By the time that we arrived in the region, all the castles were already closed. So we opted for a quick walkabout around the city before looking for a restaurant at which to dine. There weren’t a lot of dining choices to be had in the late evening given that it was not only Easter weekend, but also a small town. Ergo, we wound up eating at the same restaurant for dinner the two nights that we were in Blois. The pizzas at Scala (it turns out that it is a restaurant chain) were actually quite delicious, and even offered quite some particular concoctions, such as the Mista (tomato, cheese, bacon, goat cheese, honey, oregano, and crême fraîche). Just don’t mind the decor.
8 rue de Minimes
But of course, there was fun to be had with the château hunt. Given that there are over twenty-seven castles in the region, it’s impossible to explore them all within two days. I’d have to say, however, that we did do a pretty fine job.
Our first stop of the day was Château d’Amboise (8,50€ for students), which was where François I was raised. In later years, Leonardo da Vinci was invited as a guest of the king to live and work nearby. With that said, da Vinci’s residence, Château du Clos Lucé (8€ for students) was our next stop. This particular château is known for the numerous models of da Vinci’s inventions in both the castle and the park. These castles, while gorgeous, are pretty quick walk-throughs. Although one would like to take their time carefully looking at each room, it was incredibly difficult what with the many tourists from Paris exploring the Loire Valley that weekend.
Returning to Blois, we explored the nearby castle (Château Royal de Blois) (6,50€ for students), which had a considerable amount of things to see, including the Beaux-Arts museum of Blois. After which, we called it an evening and departed for Paris the next day, but not before stopping by the Château de Cheverny (5€ for students; only castle and park entry). One thing to note about this castle is that it served as the inspiration for Hergé’s Moulinsart castle in the Tintin series. While we didn’t head in into the Tintin exhibit, I was none the less pleased with this particular conclusion for the trip, and found it a great way to end my most recent spring break vacation.