There is something you almost have to do when visiting this area…visit a chateau. Having said that, it is almost impossible to avoid them, with about 300 in the Loire Valley. Some are very grand, some small and intimate, and some in ruins. As I’ve mentioned before, having Maggie in tow can be a bit restrictive, but I am by no means complaining. One chateau I have previously visited was high on the agenda because I knew that Maggie would be allowed into the grounds and gardens – Chenonceau. This truly beautiful and majestic palace sits on the River Cher, and is also known as the ‘Ladies Chateau’.
Ticket office negotiated and a free pass for Maggie, we strolled along the main drive, savouring the sounds and sights, and Maggie sniffing at every blade of grass and fallen leaf!
The weather couldn’t have been better with glorious sunshine and fresh spring air filling the air with the scents of honeysuckle and newly cut grass. After the harsh confinement of COVID, it was just wonderful to be able to amble along and to see families and friends relaxing and enjoying their freedom again.
At the end of the drive it opens out into large lawns and formal gardens with the chateau taking pride of place. As you would expect, everything is so well manicured and it was hard work trying to stop Maggie going onto the grass.
Diane de Poitiers GardenYours truly with the River Cher and Chenonceau in the background
This is such an iconic view of Chenonceau with the graceful arches extending over the River Cher. With the temperature rising it was tempting to jump into the river for a cooling dip.
Part of the grounds also include an extensive potager or veggie garden, and a small hamlet with stables and houses.
I got the feeling that if this wasn’t France, it could almost be an Elizabethan scene, just waiting for William Shakespeare to pop around the corner! It was certainly rather beautiful and such a calm space for a busy veggie plot.
We were both exhausted and ready for refreshments (and a sleep for Maggie). Come back soon.