Wednesday 29th October
After another lovely nights sleep I woke up just as the sun was lifting above the horizon and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. This is the weather we’ve been looking for and it has stayed lovely and warm all day long.
We were tempted to stay in Vouvray another day since Catherine and James had lots of wine they wanted to shift. Last night they bought over a bottle of €6 wine and we all had a glass and then I had to offer them a glass of my wine. I’ve been to the Mick Monk school of wine buying which uses a very simple formula to select the perfect drink – alcohol content multiplied by volume divided by cost gives you an indication of how tipsy you can get for the least cost possible. I sheepishly bought out my €5.69 for 3 litres (Index 7.11 on the Mick Monk scale) Lidl special which fortunately got a positive reaction. A Wetherspoons pint would score something like 1.1 and a small glass of Stella in a local bar would be a measly 0.35.
Catherine and James had a gas leak which I traced to a hand tight nut which was duly tightened and John gave us his ACSI books which he no longer needed.
We had a chateau to visit so bade goodbye to our new friends and drove to Villandry which is to the west of Tours and arrived by 10.30am. The chateau was only 100 yards from the car park and what a stunner!
This was our car park, space enough for 60 motorhomes with a service point and toilet block, it wasn’t mentioned in our aires book and I don’t think it allowed overnight camping.
This is my first view of the chateau from over the outside hedge, Lucy had to wait a bit longer for her first view.
The chateau itself was bullt in the 16th century on the site of an old castle originally built in the 10th century but it spent many years neglected and was purchased in 1906 by Joachim Calvado and his wife Ann who undertook it’s restoration back to it’s original 16th century design.
Inside the chateau every room had been faithfully renovated and it really did look lovely. There was even a real log fire in the drawing room.
The kitchen was to the rear of the dining room and had direct access to it through a hidden door.
The ceiling in one of the rooms. Joachim was quite an art collector and every room had numerous paintings hanging in every room, not bad for someone who was penniless when he came to France. His wives family had a bit of cash which explains the lavish decorations.
The gardens are divided into 5 sections, water, herb, medicinal, vegetable and ornamental, the photos barely do justice to the stunning views that we were given.
As you can see, it wasn’t difficult taking some great photos, it was much harder weeding out the less than stunning photos. After leaving the chateau we realised that it was 2.30pm, we had spent nearly 4 hours inside the chateau and gardens and were now feeling a little peckish, luckily a crust seller was close by and we had another french lunch (sorry Emma) in the car park while we worked out our next move.
There was an aire 7 miles away at Azay le Rideau (aire number 29, Centre) for those who can’t work out where we are, it’s free to stay but the water is €3. There was also a Lidls on the way and knowing that we were low on butter we snuck in for a visit. There was a sign outside Lidls saying “We are open Saturday, 1st November” which leads us to suspect that many other shops will be closed. We had to make sure that we had enough food to last us until Tuesday just incase we can’t find a Lidls open somewhere. So far they have been in every town that we’ve visited, far more widespread that Aldis. Would you believe the €5.69 box of wine is now down to €4.49 (scoring an unbelievable 9.1)? Had to get enough to last me until Tuesday so that would be three boxes then. Nipping in for one packet of butter cost over €30, I was just used to getting some spaces in the motorhome but they’ve all just been refilled.
Lidls do some very reasonable fruit juices and we picked one up the other day without studying the contents too closely. It had apple and peach in it and tasted very good. When we checked the label we found that it has carrot and pumpkin in it as well. Who on earth came up with that combination?
This is tonights aire. It takes 15 units and was described as very busy. There are five of us in here at the moment and to the far left of the photo behind the trees you should be able to see a pitched roof – it is tomorrows destination, Le Chateau D’Azay le Rideau.