Grand palaces and parks in the Loire Valley. The town of Blois was an exquisite base to explore the palaces of Cheverny and Chambord.
This article is part of a series of 10. The 25 days long journey was on an InterRail train ticket a long time ago, in August 1991, to Germany, France and Italy. What follows are transcripts from my travel diary at the time. I have changed or added very little.
Friday 9.8.1991, Blois
We spent most of the day on trains, a part of the stretch with the glory of the French, the TGV (Train a Grand Vitesse), elegant, air-conditioned and fast. In Blois we checked in at the
- HOTEL RESTAURANT BAR FRANCOIS Ier right by the station. 150 for a double without bath/WC, but including breakfast (at least for us). Not worth the money. Lousy service in the restaurant.
We strolled into town. Blois is situated in the middle of the Loire valley and we intended to use it as starting point for trips to some of the many castles and palaces around here.
The town of Blois itself is alright, with some old buildings, a few pedestrian streets and parks. Overall, it is not particularly pleasant. In contrast to other towns in the region it has a castle right in the middle. We watched an impressive sound and light show there in the evening.
Saturday 10.8.1991, Blois
We started early and joined a (semi-)tour to a couple of the castles. A bus brought us to the castles of Cheverny and Chambord. We could decide ourselves how long we would stay at the castle, as the bus went to and from four times a day for 50 FF.
Cheverny was a castle or palace with an elegant exterior and very grand interior. I liked this better than Versailles, but they are anyway too different. The garden or park around was large and with extremely well cut lawns. Here too they have an annex called an “Orangerie”, just like in Potsdam. We indulged ourselves in free wine tasting in the village outside the walls.
Chambord was huge, more like a fortress than a castle, even though the original and traditional square shape had been extended several times. Chambord was not as rich as Cheverny, but the size made us spend more time here. And the camera “rolled”.
All chapters in this series from 1991:
(1) Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany: Here is my diary from an InterRail train journey through Sweden, Denmark and Germany, to France and Italy.
(2) Paris & Versailles: Sightseeing in Paris and a day at Versailles.
(3) Normandie and Bretagne: A famous tapestry and D-Day beaches in Normandy and a strange mountain in the sea in Brittany.
(4) The Loire Valley and its palaces: Grand palaces and parks in the Loire Valley. (THIS ARTICLE)
(5) Provence and the Cote d’Azur: The papal city of Avignon with an unfinished bridge, picturesque villages in Provence and a first look at the French Riviera.
(6) Monaco: A short stop in Monaco before continuing to Rome.
(7) Roma and the Vatican: In Italy we went to Roma (Rome), several cities in Tuscany and a final day in Venice, before returning to France. Here is first the account of the Eternal City of Rome and a visit to the Vatican.
(8) Toscana: A few hectic days in Tuscany, in the old cities of Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Arezzo and Siena.
(9) Venezia: Venice on a day trip, like many other visitors. But even a day made us realise the magic of this famed city.
(10) French Riviera: Lazy, lovely days on the Cote d’Azur… and the long way home.