During our brief time in the Loire Valley, we visited three towns and villages – each one more charming and beautiful than the last. Our first stop? The historic town of Amboise, located on the banks of the Loire River. Historians often note the significance of Amboise due to Château d’Amboise, the 15th-century residence of King Charles VIII, and the fact that Leonardo da Vinci was so in love with the royal village that he ultimately moved there in the twilight years of his life and was buried there when he passed. We enjoyed an afternoon stroll through the historic center, crossing the river to enjoy an ice cream sundae with a few of the magnificent château perched high above the town below. Although the historic city center was quite crowded with tourists (we visited on a Saturday afternoon), Amboise is a beautiful town and is an ideal place to station oneself to explore the surrounding villages and châteaus of the Loire Valley.
Next up, the village of Chenononceau. The famous Château de Chenononceau brings hoards of visitors to the area every day, but somehow the quaint village, which is within a short walk of the château, always seems to remain peaceful and quiet. We initially were going to stay here but instead opted to stay out in the country at Chateau de la Barre. However, if we had, the Michellin-starred Auberge du Bon Labourer would have been a perfect choice.
Last, but certainly not least, we visited the picturesque (and minuscule) village of Chédingy – a commune so small and remote that our GPS actually didn’t even recognize it as a destination. With a bit of detective work we were able to locate this charming village and were delighted to find out that we had arrived during the annual Chédingy Rose Festival. Not only was every building, fence, and light post covered with crawling roses, but dozens of vendors were set-up down the entire mail street selling rose bushes, fresh cut roses, and various rose flavored and scented wares, including the most delectable jar of rose jam that I brought home and have been savoring with my favorite cheeses.
For more of my adventures in France: Provence Sunrises | Gordes in Provence | Loumarin in Provence | Fields of Poppies | Staying in a Loire Valley Chateau | Chateau de Chenonceau | Sailing the Mediterranean | Etretat, Normady | A Chic Hotel in Normandy