Chateau Villandry

These pictures were actually from our stay in Caen, but I forgot to post them in that entry…oops!  I had to share though because I’ve never seen anything like this.  We went to eat at an Italian restaurant, and Hubby ordered a pasta dish with some sort of cheese sauce.  When they brought the food out, they brought a whole butler’s cart with the pasta in a pan and a giant wheel of Parmesan cheese.  The chef put some sauce and the pasta right onto the block of cheese and stirred it around on there for 5 minutes or so.  While he was making it the cheese was melting right into the pasta.  It was amazing!

OK, back to our last chateau.  We decided to visit Villandry because it was known for its gardens.  The gardens were my favorite part about Versailles so I thought it would be fun to see this place.  The gardens were pretty impressive, though after you see Versailles, not much can compare to that.  But we had a nice afternoon at Villandry walking around and enjoying the grounds.

That was it for our trip to France!  We had a wonderful time, and our little girl has been such a good traveler so far.  She’s made it very easy on us.  We love being able to bring her with us wherever we go!

Chateau Chenoceau

The next morning, we set out in the rain again to see the 3rd most visited chateau in France after Versailles and Fontainebleau.  This chateau is so unique because it spans across a river.  Chateau Chenoceau was given by King Henry II to his mistress.  Upon his death his wife Catherine de Medici (of the famous Florentine family) took it back from her.

The beautiful hall that spans the river.

The whole time we were down in the kitchen and the servants’ quarters, I would hear a bunch of foreign mumblings then a “Mr. Bates” or “Mrs. Patmore” dropped every once in a while.  I guess they were all thinking what I was thinking, that it reminded me of Downton Abbey!  If you haven’t watched the show yet, you need to start…so good.

Our girl was such a good little baby, she slept the whole time we were touring the chateau.  It was a bummer that the weather wasn’t cooperating.  There are some really beautiful pictures of this chateau online, but unfortunately our pictures have the brown muddy looking river instead of the gorgeous blue river.  Oh well, can’t win ’em all.  We had time for one more chateau to visit, so it was back in the car and on the road again for us!

Chateau Chevreny

The weather turned south on us by the time we got to the next chateau.  But, we couldn’t let a little rain stop us!  This chateau is actually still a residence for a French viscount and his family.  Not too shabby!

What makes this chateau special is that it is also home to over 100 hunting hounds.  Everyday there is a bit of a spectacle when the dogs are fed.  The dog trainer enters the pen where all the dogs are barking and milling around and shouts a couple commands.  Within seconds the dogs are trampling over each other to go up onto a balcony that overlooks the main pen.  The trainer locks the door and starts to clean the pen.

Dogs “patiently” waiting to be fed.

 Once it’s all clean, the trainer lays out a line of chickens, then pours dog food on top.  Some of the dogs are so anxious for the food, they are gnawing on the metal bars.  The sound was like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Chickens and kibble-yum.

Then the trainer opens the gate and all the dogs come down, but they aren’t allowed to eat just yet.  The trainer cracks a whip if any of the dogs get too close to the food or get out of line.  Once he finally shouts the right command, the dogs descend on the food and they go crazy.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

After we saw the dogs eat, we toured the rest of the chateau.  Again, it’s so surreal that a family actually lives here.  Can you imagine living in a place that’s open for the public to tour?

Someone was exhausted after all the touring.

More chateaus to come…

Chateau Chambord

We left the beaches of Normandy for the chateaus of the Loire Valley.  We drove several hours and through lots of tolls, until we finally arrived at Chateau Chambord.  It’s the largest in the Loire Valley with over 400 rooms, almost 300 fireplaces, and 80 staircases.  It was a “hunting lodge” originally for King Francios I.

Famous double spiral staircase, rumored to have been designed by Leonardo DaVinci.
Fancy-pants bedroom.

Dangerous tripod set up…anything for a family photo.

We enjoyed our time exploring the chateau.  This would’ve been a great place to bring a picnic lunch and hang out on the grass. Next up, we headed up the road to another chateau with some famous furry residents.