Another lovely day in France.
We all slept in until 8.20! Quite a noisy night at times. The restaurant below seemed to be shifting chairs etc at quite a late hour and there was a bit of street noise. However, good breakfast set us up for the morning.
Navigated our way out of Tours and headed for Villandry. Another WOW moment. The Chateau is beautifully furnished and most interesting. Bought in 1906 by a Spanish (poor) research scientist and an American heiress (also research scientist). They had married earlier and the last 3 (of 6) children were born at Villandry. The gardens have been restored over the ensuing years. There are six gardens in all. The kitchen garden – which is a series of 9 beds – each surrounded by small box hedges (32 miles) and in different geometric shapes and planted with red, green lettuce. Spinach, carrots, different kales. There was a herb garden with 28 varieties of mint (who knew there were that many?), A love garden – again different shapes in box showing, passion, true love, broken hearted and one other I have forgotten and will have to look up. A musical garden with shapes of lutes, lyres etc, a cloud garden planted in mostly white and blue and a sun garden planted in hot colours, and a childrens play area. Nine gardeners are employed to keep them and they have 2 plantings each year for spring and summer. In addition to all this there were thousands of lime trees all pollarded and pleached hornbeam. More ideas for Rosewill garden!!!
Crepes for lunch in the kiosk there and then on the way to Azay-le-Rideau – for another Chateau visit. tTis one is state owned and not nearly as well restored but still very interesting. On the walls and floor of a bedroom and anteroom there was rush matting and an interesting video on the making and hanging – looked like hard work on the hands! Also a video on the retoration of a bed and its furnishings. Fascinating look at them making the braids and tassels (parmentiers) and then putting the whole thing together. The grounds were more parklike and so a quick walk around the moat before heading for a coffee and back to Tours.
By now we had got the TomTom fairly well sussed – she still gave a right turn when it should have been left and every now and then an alarm went of – we think indicating a danger point. John managed the driving very well, I probably now have a slight tendency to lean to the left and had to tell him a few times to watch the verge on my side.
Once back at the hotel I went in search of wine and thanks to the receptionist found a bottle shop in a ittle street full of International and local restaurants where we went back for dinner.
A better sleep – Dot and I still coughing quite a bit.
Up earlier than yesterday and on our way to Versailles. Blatted along the motorway at 130k. it was a toll road and ended up costing 20 euro but well worth the hour off the journey. Had a bit of trouble finding a park at Versailles. Decided that we only had time to “do” the Chateau as the queue was reputed to be an hour long to get in. (actually only took ¾) there was a huge crowd of people in each room but we were all impressed and pleased we had done it. The gardens can be seen from some of the rooms and of course the Hall of Mirrors and are probably best viewed from above. Some of the fountains were working. It takes an hour to walk from the chateau to the end of the garden! Back to the car and then to navigate back to Gare de Nord to return the car. Following the TomTom directions was fine until we realized that we were headed straight for The Arc de Triumph! Not on our bucket list at all! However, there was no way out and John did so well. After a little hiccup (petrol station closed) arrived at the train station unscathed. Had to park on minus 7th level and then hand in the keys on -2. Got to platform level only to be told there was a bomb threat and that the station was being cleared! We have had it all on this trip! Ushered outside to wait for 20 mins or so and then allowed back in. had a bite to eat and now on the train to Koln (Cologne) and then a sleeper to Kolding. Much more comfortable on the train than the bus ride to Paris a few days ago!!