Storming the Castles…

Tourism season has starting picking up here in Paris and with it comes a few new tours I have started doing.

The first is storming the castles: a full day trip to the Loire Valley which includes visiting castles and wine tastings. The Loire Valley is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site. It makes the list because of the 1,000 châteaux, human settlements for over 2,000 years, and the impact it had on France’s renaissance and cultural development.

The first castle we visit is the Château de Chambord. This is the largest castle in the region. It dates back to 1519 and was built for Francis I. It was a huge undertaking for a king that was there for only 72 days total! The outside is just spectacular, it inspired the castle from Beauty and the Beast. The gardens were recently redone to match the style of the gardens that Louis XIV had installed. Over 6 years of research went into the history of the gardens to make sure it was accurate. Spring has been slow to come this year, so stay tuned for more pictures of this castle as the summer progress. Even without the full bloom, it is magical.

The second castle is the Château de Chenonceau, known as the ladies castle. It was originally gifted to the mistress of Henri II, Diane de Poitiers. However after Henri’s death, it was confiscated by his wife Catherine de Medici. The following owner was also a queen of France. It was saved from destruction during the French Revolution by an actress who owned the castle. It is currently owned by a family who made their fortune as chocolatiers. One plus about this castle? They grow and produce their own wine, which of course if only sold on castle property. I think I might make a new dietary change, to exclusively drink castle wine from this point forward.

The day is full of castles and wine and splendor of the Loire Valley. Check out my next post about storming the beaches! Just another day at the office for me!

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