Stuif's Adventures

All albums

Les chateaux de la Loire, France, April 2012
In October 2007 I visited my friends Moira and Remy in Chateauneuf-sur-Loire, a small town about 30 km east of Orleans.
Of course I invited them to come to Amsterdam for a return visit, but..., they got a daughter and became too busy with family life to travel to the Netherlands.

Therefore I decided to go again to the Loire valley, with my brother Pim. Visit a few of the famous Loire castles and have a meeting with Moira and her family.

We decided to choose Blois as our home base during this short trip. It is a long 750 km drive from Amsterdam, so we left early and we arrived at our hotel in the afternoon. The Hotel de France et de Guise turned out to be a good choice. Centrally located and with a very helpful front desk.

After a short rest we went out to explore Blois. Nice town! We had dinner in one of the restaurants suggested by our hotel. Walking back we noticed that there was a Son et Lumiere (Sound and Light show) in the castle that night. Although it was cold and rainy, I went there.
The history of France during the 15-16th century is too complicated to even sketch roughly here. Interesting show.

The next morning we started after breakfast with a visit of the castle. You could spend many hours there. The main builder was Francois I, must have been an interesting character, introducing the Renaissance in France.But it was also a violent time, with Catholics murdering thousands of Protestants during the Wars of Religion.

We met Moira and Remy and their daughter Thalia in a nearby restaurant for a sumptuous (and affordable!) lunch. It was good to see them back as a happy family.

They decided to join us to Chambord, the most impressive of the Loire castles. The unusual double spiral central staircase of this magnificent palace may have been designed by Leonardo Da Vinci!

Remy suggested that we might visit the following day the mansion in Amboise where da Vinci lived.
First we visited the Chenonceau castle, which is one of my favourites. During the WWII the river Cher was the border between Free and Occupied France and the gallery crossing the river was used by people to travel (illegally) between the two parts of France.

After Chenonceau we continued to Amboise for lunch and a visit of the Clos Luce mansion where da Vinci spent the last years of his life as a guest of Francois I. In the museum and the garden you can find many of da Vinci's inventions, built as a prototype.

There are more than 50 castles in the Loire region! We had a look at a few of them on our way back to Amsterdam

A very rewarding trip

Our hotel in Blois

Pim on the balcony of our room

Our room

Springtime, but cold!

Eglise Saint Vincent


Facade of the Blois castle


Jacques Gabriel bridge

The other side of the river

Water level can be high!

Terns looking for food

Saint Nicolas Church

Dinner with local specialties

Blois by night

Entrance of the castle

Son et lumiere

Beautiful illumination

The François I wing

The octagonal staircase

17th century wing (Classical style)

Beautiful decorations

The breakfast lounge of the hotel

The castle by daylight

Statue of Louis XII

Salle des États Généraux (13th century)

Me as the King of France

The François I wing

The staircase

One of the Royal state rooms

More Royal rooms

Richly ornamented

Beautiful furniture

The emblem of François I

Pim climbing the stairs

View of the court

Ceiling In the Classical wing


Decorated columns

View from the castle

Saturday market in the rain

Lunch with Moira, Remy ....

and Thalia!

A delicious lunch

Pim and Thalia

Rapeseed fields

Chambord castle

Most impressive Loire castle

One for the album

The court of Chambord

The famous double-spiral staircase

The staircase, first floor

Looking down the stairwell

Crowning the stairwell

On the roof of Chambord

Many decorated chimneys

View from the roof



Hunting trophies

Again the Royal Salamander

Entrance of Chenonceau

The squire and his castle..:-)

Chenonceau, my personal favourite

One of the state rooms

Detail of the interior

More details

Beautifully decorated cupboard

The famous corridor bridging the river

Going down to the kitchens

Intricate ceiling design

One of the kitchens

Details of the kitchens

The gardens of Chenonceau

Must be old

Nice manor house in the gardens

Wisteria in bloom

More blue flowers

The castle as seen from the garden

Amboise and its castle

Another view of Amboise

Entrance of the castle

The bell tower of Amboise

Time for lunch


Old houses

Troglodyte houses!

Clos Lucé mansion

Da Vinci's bedroom

The museum in Clos Lucé

Models of Da Vinci's inventions

More models

In the park of Clos Lucé

Full scale model

So many mistletoe's !

Castle of Chaumont

Old houses in Vendôme

St Georges Gate, Vendôme

Castle of Châteaudun

Detail of the castle

lightlingmk2 wrote on May 17, 2012:
" Catholics murdering thousands of Protestants " Disgusting isn't it ? All in the name of religion, even today. Castle designs are beautiful. Nice holiday, Jan.

You are welcome to comment, but you must register and/or login first.