Un mini-vacances….. .

We returned to le chateau on Sunday evening after having Friday, Saturday and Sunday off for a mini holiday touring the Loire area.  After stocking up with provisions at the Super U we headed south to have a look see at the river Loire.  It’s fair to say that the weather since we arrived here has been diabolique with rain practically every day.  We’d heard on the news that many places throughout France were flooded.  We stopped at another free aire at Chouze sur Loire which is a village just on the north side of the Loire river.

Yet another free aire at Chouze sur Loire. Oh we so love France!

We had a lazy day catching up on sleep and doing some French learning.  We didn’t have internet access so I wasn’t able to update the blog until we got back to the chateau. In the early evening we had a stroll down to the river to see what was what.  The river has flooded gardens and campsites.  We have been to this area before and beaches can usually be seen at various places along the river but it is completely covered with water at the moment.   The picture below shows the area two years ago and the next one shows what it looks like now – quite a difference.

France April 2014 038.JPG
Picnic area near Chouze-sur-Loire in April 2014.
The same picnic area in June 2016!


The terrace of the local bar in Chouze-sur-Loire just survived.
The campsite at houze-sur-Loire!

We were also intrigued to see an English telephone box in the centre of the village.

P1050866.JPGApparently it was donated in 2000 to Chouze-sur-Loire by the village of Gosfield which Chouze is twinned with. Google was my friend again and Gosfield is in Essex.

On Saturday we refilled our water tanks and headed over to the southern side of the Loire towards Montsereau which is supposedly one of the most beautiful villages in France.

Approach to Montsoreau.

It certainly lived up to expectations with it’s 11th century chateau, troglodytic dwellings, streets of flowers, vineyards and beautiful tuffeau stone buildings.

Troglodytic dwellings built into the tuffeau stone.
I love these little footpaths lines with wild flowers.
View of Montsoreau chateau.
The gardens in the village were all so well kept.  Puts ours to shame!
Lovely wild flowers line driveways.
Managed to capture this little chap too 🙂

Later on we went to Fontevraud, home to the largest preserved monastic site in Europe.  We got there a bit late to make it worthwhile paying to go in (Tim was delighted he didn’t have to open his wallet!) but the surrounding village was worth a look round with well kept flower lined streets.

Traditional English tea shop in Fontevraud.
Part of the abbey taken through the fence!
Pretty flower lined streets.

On Saturday night we stopped at yet another free aire at Torquant.  The village is largely built into the hillside but the dwellings are mostly now given over to crafts, boutiques and workshops.

Troglodydtic dwellings now art studios.

It’s a really interesting place to wander around.

Cave cafe!
Arial view.


On Sunday we drove into Saumur and parked up in the car park of the Cavalry School where there was a show jumping competition on.

Show jumping in the grounds of Saumur Cavalry School.

We had a wander around Saumur.  Again, the picture below shows the river level in 2014 and then what it looked like on Sunday.

France April 2014 020.JPG
View over the Loire from Saumur in April 2014.
The Loire June 2016!
Saumur chateau.

The finale to our weekend was a tour, on vintage bicycles, of the Bouvet Ladubay wine caves.

‘Ollie’ parked up in the coach park of Bouvet-Ladubay.

I’d emailed the company, in French I might add, to see if we could get booked onto a tour.  After several emails back and forth we managed to get booked onto the Sunday evening tour.  I did my best when we arrived to speak to the chap on reception in French but as soon as the first words were out of my mouth he said in perfect English ‘would you prefer to speak in English Madam?’.  ‘Qui’ was my meek reply.  I would really have wanted to persevere in French but the poor guy didn’t have all day to entertain my whims so Anglais it was.

Wine barrels after the first fermentation.
Most of the tour was lit but we needed head torches for some of it.


The tour was interesting but I was a little bit disappointed that the bikes weren’t truly vintage (I was hoping for at least a wicker basket on the front of mine)and we probably only cycled about a mile but I couldn’t see the UK putting on anything similar – far too health and safety conscious!

Tim trying a sparkling red – weird!

The tour cost a measly €4 including tasting four of their wines so was a bargain!

They all tasted the same to me!

As Tim was driving I needed to try his share too – shame to see it go to waste!

Ah well, someones gotta do it!

Cheers, a bientot!


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We are Jane and Tim and we recently gave up our jobs and rented out our house to persue a life of travel across Europe in our motorhome called Ollie.

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