France, International Travel

Val de Loire – Loches and Château de Chenonceau

France Trip – Day 7

September 14, 2019

Our first morning waking up in the Val de Loire. It’s a nice contrast to the busy Parisian city to wake up to birds chirping, critters scurrying about leaves crunching as they go, and the occasional dog bark. Our host had recommended us to check out the Saturday morning market of Loches, so we decided to make that our first stop for the day.

The market in Loches was huge, spanning several blocks, with fruits, veggies, bread, charcuterie, textiles, gifts, and more.

Loches is a quaint and friendly medieval village with fortified walls. It has a small château, church, and donjon (keep). When we travel we try to find the more local spots, the fewer tourists the better. Loches is one of those towns; there were few tourists, and those that were around were mainly French.

After buying some goodies at the market and walking around the old part of town, we had worked up an appetite. We found a beautiful restaurant to have lunch, it was perched on a hill next to the church. The service was fantastic and the food delicious. After enjoying coffee and glaces (ice cream) we made our way back to the car to head to the next location, Chenonceaux [fun fact: the town has an “x” at the end but the château does not].

I have been to the Château de Chenonceau twice before this trip, and I thought it would serve as a nice introduction to the châteaux of the region for the newbies on the trip. I have to admit that it was slightly disappointing to be constantly surrounded by giant crowds! What a contrast to Loches! The château itself is one of the most beautiful in the region, so picturesquely placed over the River Cher, surrounded by forest land. Plus it is nicely decorated with time pieces and furniture in each room. And the booklet provides enough information to explain each room, so even if you buy the cheaper tickets without the audio guide you can learn about life in the château. All that said, this third time will be my last time at Chenonceau. The crowds made the visit less fun, it was a hot sticky day and all those people made the rooms feel muggy even with the windows open. Plus you had to almost wait in line to get into different rooms as people filled them. I do not recall this many tourists on other visits – maybe it was because it was Saturday or because it was mid-afternoon, who knows. It’s a beautiful and worthwhile château and gardens to visit, but maybe an early morning midweek visit would be better.

After Chenonceau, it was time to return to our château for dinner. We enjoyed some cidre (hard apple cider), beer, and wine with had leftovers from the night before, salad, and other goodies we bought at the market. After dinner, Chris and I enjoyed the sunset in the garden before hitting the hay.

Photo credit: Carina, Chris and Carina’s dad

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