The drive to Azay-le-Rideau last night was an easy but slightly monotonous one with a detour through Chartre to find a restaurant recommended to us (but sadly closed last night) followed by a stop at the most enormous Carrefour supermarket I have been to. We ended up buying a hot roast chicken and other bits and pieces to consume in the car en route, as it was getting late. A quick phone call to Patric at the lovely Hotel Biencourt reassured us that we would have a room when we got to Azay-le-Rideau and sure enough, when we pulled up outside well after 10pm, he actually came out of the house opposite in pristine blue striped pyjamas to show us where to park, and to help us get settled. He had clearly been asleep yet was extremely polite and kind.
The hotel is absolutely beautiful, set in a school from Napoleonic times. Our family room is spotless and very comfortable, with a newly renovated bathroom and the best shower I have had in France! There is a lovely communal area downstairs with a fridge which we promptly helped to fill with our supermarket purchases. We can look over a lovely
internal courtyard from one side of our room, and the windows on the other side look over the quiet street. This morning we met Marie-Laure, Patric's wife, who gave us a good tip for breakfast and directions to the best bakery and chocolatier in town! As it is still pouring with rain, we took our time and relaxed for a while, then set off to explore the chateau. It is just a few doors down - at the bottom of our street. All the photos I had seen were in beautiful sunshine and blue skies, so the reality was a little different today, but we still had lots of fun exploring.
I think we are going to need to stock up on some slightly warmer clothes, and perhaps amend our biking plans a little. I don't fancy cycling in the rain! We have met a few groups who have squelched through the front door of the hotel in cycling gear, having had no choice but to ride today. The staff are absolutely lovely about the puddles of water on the floor and storing wet gear - I heard Patric say to one cold, wet guest "Don't worry about checking
Family with umbrellas
Kindly supplied by the lovely owners at Hotel de Biencourt
in now, I will show you to your room so that you can shower and change first." He is really so kind. I think we are going to be happy here for the next 5 days while we explore the Loire Valley.
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