Monday, June 14, 2010

A Lovely Chateau

Let's face it, all the chateaux in the Loire Valley are beautiful, wonderful and otherwise possess qualities of such headshaking beauty as to challenge one's sense of wonder - to the limit! Lovely, yes, but where is the historical PAIN? Not ONE Cathar in sight. No beheadings (that I can see). No burnings or even good old-fashioned hangings. Instead, we get treaty signings, garden plannings and tapestry weavings. OMG, how yawnsville!

Mind you, the company is fabulous. [Not that prior co-Ramblers weren't up to the mark, far from it!]. Andy and Grazyna seem to share our emotional attitude to chateaux in a way that no other person ever really could. For example, one chateau per day seems to be our absolute maximum. We headed off to check one out today, and it turned out yo be a real 'pearler'! It was called Chateau Villandre and it had, within its walls, a most agreeable garden. We spent most of the day there, if we came to think about it, and we just - well - Rambled through it.

The bottom part of this garden was full of veggies, all grown within spaces surrounded by box hedge. I know that this is not everyone's cup of tea, but I like it. Standard roses were planted randomly within these box hedge to give the allusion of monks tending to the daily chores attendant upon the gardening process. These roses did not look at all like monks to me, but I appreciated the effort of the designer. Up on another level was the herb garden. I got into serious trouble with Jude, supported by Andy, for crushing the TINIEST leaves from each of these spices and smiffing the resulant gooey mess. "what would be left of the garden if EVERYONE did that?", asked Andy and Jude in unison. Graz stood by me and joined kn the smiffing process in an attempt to identify each different herb. There were eight different types of mint - each with its own distinct aroma. Eight I tell you!

The next level of gardens was just as wonderful and the next even better (this whole garden is built into a small valley, don't you know). Included in it's design was a grass tennis court, a Children's playground, a maze, a pool garden and a garden with six or so love motifs represented in shaped box hedge. I hadn't been 'in to' gardens till now, but I could see what all the fuss was about. The best view was from the top of the castle keep tgat had been preserved since the time of Henry II of England who had signed some peace treaty here, having been trounced by the French in some battle or other.

One of the aspects of the time in this fabulous garden was that we did not have to be anywhere in any tearing hurry. It was a day of quiet, contemplative rambling, free from deadlines and any sense of rushing.

After this chateau we headed for another town with a chateau. However, on this occasion we bought icecreams (I chose a double boule of cherry and chocolate - eat your heart out) ) and contented ourselves with a walk around the town with the occasional peep into the castle grounds for free. No one felt the need to pay another 12 euros each to go through the gate. [My icecream lasted car longer than anyone else's, so I won!]

Home to (another) omlette for tea, a couple of wines and off to bed. Collingwood drew with Tge Dees but, hey, what better team to draw with? It had been yet another perfect day of French Rambling and I loved it!

Too Roo Blue!



  1. hi guys - we continue to follow your verbal and physical rambling with interest.
    Have told ally r to give u a big hug by way of hello.
    wild storm here today - my olive trees are horizontal and the pool blanket is in the pool on its winder thingo.there were trees down everywhere- havent heard any news re waldara status yet!
    anyways - us keep having a grouse time and we look forward toseeing you one day soon.
    love jen

  2. Ohhh, can't wait to see some pics! These gardens sound stunning - actually, the ice cream sounds pretty good too. What a delightful read.