In celebration of a speeding ticket we got going from Tours to Blois (the second we got via mail from the French highway system a month after our return) I thought I would post about our visit to Blois which caused this infraction. * (A note about the French Highway system- the roads are very smooth and immaculately maintained. However, they have a challenging ticketing booths on the road, and if you ever need to pull off- to, say, use the facilities, they charge a fee. There are no rest areas like we have here in the US. Also, there seems to be an elaborate way of monitoring speeding, whereby you are not pulled over, but your speed is periodically checked. If speeding they then find you and send you a ticket. A waring to lead-foot drivers traveling to France! BE CAREFUL. Figuring out how to pay these French tickets is almost more painful and difficult than actually the fee itself.
Blois itself is another royal residence of our friend, Catherine De Medici. For a time, this was the center of French government. The staircases you can see, were copied by the the Vanderbilt estate, the Biltmore in North Carolina.
The castle is full of history and peculiar paintings…. The one on the right is of a person with hypertrichosis who was under the protection of the royal house hold at one point.
Hello, I wanted to share with you another marvelous Chateau we visited while on our trip to the Loire Valley: Langeais!
The weather was perfect and we had quite an interesting visit. This 15th century chateau was most famous for the secret wedding between Anne of Brittany and Charles VIII which took place here on December 6, 1491- infamously at dawn.
The oldest part of the castle complex is the “keep” which was built in the 10th century. (According to my wikipedia research, this makes it the second oldest castle in France.)
The interior of the castle was quite interesting itself- there is a wax model of this secret wedding, complete with a narrated video of the events surrounding it. (Strangely enough, this was in English- perhaps to accommodate the number of pesky English speaking tourists.) I have a link to an image of the tableau, as I was so distracted by the impossibly small size of the figures that I neglected to take a picture.
I am not sure if these figures were made to scale, but they all appeared to be no more than 4 and a half feet in height. Considering the small size of the doorways- I had to stoop and I am 5’7″- this might be the case. Although, I find it hard to believe. The rooms all featured heavy wooden beams and intricate tapestries. The floors were tiled in a color we came to know as “blush apricot” which seems to be quite popular in France- many of the chateaus and buildings we visited featured this type of tile.
(Please disregard the Americans featured above- those are my parents who are clearly fascinated by something on the wall opposite).
Langleais also features an extensive turret walk: it allows the visitor to traverse through an enclosed walk way on the upper level. This seems to have been part of the castle’s defenses, as you have a good view of anything happening beneath.
Thankfully, the wiring was in place to prevent any overly curious tourists from falling in the moat while trying to retrieve a dropped iPhone.
We ended our visit with a great lunch in the village. It was perfect- there was only one item left on the menu- jambon et fromage, so the amount of challenging translating when ordering was, blissfully, kept to a minimum.