Friday, September 30, 2011

Chenonceau Chateau - Day 5 of Cosmos Tour

Today we have the full day to visit 2 Chateau in the Loire Valley, the Chenonceau in the morning and the Amboise in the afternoon. We set out early after breakfast and we were the first group to reach Chenonceau Chateau thus beating the crowds.

After getting our tickets, we walked for about 10 minutes through a park before reaching the chateau. We saw some big rat-like creature along the way and there was even a sphinx.

The chateau from the front with close-ups of the tower.

The entrance to the castle proper is through an ornamental door. The first room is the guard's room where you can rent the audio guide to the chateau.

This leads to a small chapel,

where there are some modern stained-glass windows.

The tickets came with a very handy and informative booklet describing the various rooms in the chateau. The names of the various rooms and items therein mentioned with my photos are taken from this booklet since I never take notes in my travel.

Next is the Diane de Poitier's bedroom with a huge tapestry behind the four-poster bed.

There is also a very ornate fireplace.

Continuing on, we reached the Library with its intricate ceiling.

This is the gallery with view of the garden outside.

Next is the kitchen which is the dream of everyday housewives with all the cooking utensils that they can ask for. To me this is the most interesting part of the chateau.

We went through a couple more rooms with many paintings, portraits and decorative fireplace.

After several more bedrooms, I was having an overdose of royal beds.

It is a good thing that there are fresh flowers to liven up the scene.

In one of the halls, there is a painting of the chateau itself.

So much for the interior of the chateau; my next post will highlight the exterior, the gardens and the surrounding area.

Ronald Kwok

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Angers and Tours - Day 4 of Cosmos Tour

We left Mont.St.Michel and drove towards Angers, our first stop in the Loire Valley to see our first chateau there. We stopped in a small town for a quick lunch, cannot remember the name of the place but we walked through a small park next to a river. Does the monument ring a bell?

Most of us had sandwiches and other snacks before we continued our journey to Angers. The Angers castle or Chateau d'Angers was just across the road where our coach parked. The castle is massive and looks very solid with the fat towers.

The castle has an unflattering nickname of Elephant Leg Castle and looking at the photos below, you can understand why.

In contrast to the massive towers or the elephant legs, the formal garden around them is delicately patterned.

The main attraction inside the castle is a hugh medieval tapestry call the Apocalypse Tapestry showing scenes from the Book of Revelations. Most of us gave that a miss after having seen the Bayeux Tapestry but on hindsight, it was a missed opportunity.

We then walked to the town centre for another attraction, the St.Maurice Cathedral. We passed the old abbey church of Toussaint that is now the museum of David d'Angers housing the works of the sculptor Jean Pierre David.

Continuing our walk through the town,

we finally came to the timber-framed house of Maison d'Adam or Adam's House, the oldest house in Angers.

This is just next to the back of the St.Maurice Cathedral which we entered through a side door.

As it was rather dark inside, the photos do not do justice to the fine fixtures and decorations in the cathedral.

There are some stained glass windows from the 13th Century.

But certainly not this one!

The front of the cathedral is very imposing with a life-size crucifix at the side.

We then walked around the shopping area taking in the architecture of the buildings.

 For a while, I thought I was in London!

We then went back to the coach and continue our journey to Tours, the transport hub for the Loire Valley. We checked into the hotel Kyriad La Boetie that is next to a train station. In the evening we went to the old town centre of Tours or le Vieux Tours (Old Tours) for our optional dinner. The area is full of preserved half-timbered buildings, many becoming eating places with tables in the open air.

We ended in one of them, call the Leornado da Vinci.

The dinner was OK with plenty of singing and fun. However, I can only remember the dessert which was something special, a flaming ice-cream. We drove round the town for a bus tour before getting back to our hotel. for the night.

Ronald Kwok