Touring and Tasting: Loire Valley

We’ve been here in Tours since Saturday afternoon, but the time has flown by. Tours is beautiful, with many VERY old and noteworthy buildings, including a magnificent cathedral:

Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours -- Detail
Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours — Detail of Front

But Tours is also in the heart of the Loire valley, which is absolutely encrusted with châteaux and blanketed with vineyards, two of my very favorite things.

Random gorgeous château in the distance
Random gorgeous château in the distance
Vouvray Wine Tour
Vouvray Wine Tour

Yesterday (Monday) I met up with friends, Dany and Francis, who took me to Vouvray for a tour of les caves and some wine-tasting. David stayed back to relax a bit and give me a chance to speak French without the need to translate for him. Since we went early in the afternoon we had a private tour (in French with the occasional English translation for wine-making terms I didn’t know). Les caves were carved out of the limestone cliffs, so double-bonus: beautiful châteaux and other buildings, plus dark, cool space to make wine! 

Today David came along to Chinon for another cave tour and tasting (also turned out to be private, since we were so early — 10 a.m. this time. Rise and shine people! There’s wine to be tasted.)

Château de Chinon
Château de Chinon

The area, including the château was under English control for a while, but the woman giving us the Chinon wine tour said, “Heureusement, Jeanne d’Arc est arrivée . . . ” (Fortunately Joan of Arc arrived . . .) “sinon nous boirions du thé et mangions de la viande bouillie!” ( otherwise, we would be drinking tea and eating boiled meat!)

Restaurant Les Grottes, Azay-le-Rideau
Restaurant Les Grottes, Azay-le-Rideau

Then to lunch here (where neither tea nor boiled meat was offered). Super cute à l’intérieur but it was such a gorgeous day we chose to eat à l’extérieur. 

Then a walk around town to peak at another château and take more photos.

Une maison sur l'Indre
Une maison sur l’Indre — House on  the Indre River

Another fabulous day with friends. 

Dany (left) et Francis
Dany (left) et Francis

Merci beaucoup, Dany et Francis!



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