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.
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.
We were also intrigued to see an English telephone box in the centre of the village.
Apparently 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.
It certainly lived up to expectations with it’s 11th century chateau, troglodytic dwellings, streets of flowers, vineyards and beautiful tuffeau stone buildings.
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.
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.
It’s a really interesting place to wander around.
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.
We had a wander around Saumur. Again, the picture below shows the river level in 2014 and then what it looked like on Sunday.
The finale to our weekend was a tour, on vintage bicycles, of the Bouvet Ladubay wine caves.
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.
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!
The tour cost a measly €4 including tasting four of their wines so was a bargain!
As Tim was driving I needed to try his share too – shame to see it go to waste!
Cheers, a bientot!