Edit Blog Post
Published: July 11th 2013
We left Tours at 8.30am with nice cool temperatures - cool enough to wear a top with sleeves. We were happy. And, there was a tail wind. It was a nice easy bike ride along the river Cher, mostly along the stop bank. We went through the usual grain fields and lovely small and very old hamlets. Our objective was Villandry where we were keen to visit the gardens. Since the others wanted to visit the chateau at the same time, we figured it best for us to continue on for the day on our own. Linds wanted me to complete the 60kms and not take the shorter distance by cutting out some of the route. I wasn't keen to do the distance if the high temps continued. However, it was a lot cooler and the route was an easy one.
The Chateau de Villandry is magnificent and is better known for it's gardens rather than the building although that is lovely too. There is the Ornamental Garden which has clearly defined patterns best seen from the belvedere which looks over the garden. The Water Garden has defined patterns and paths of ponds and fountains. The Sun Garden has lovely
colours set out in patterns, but essentially cottage gardens of plants that we would recognise. The Maze is just that. The vegetable garden is set out in patterns defined by buxus but planted with different colours - red beetroot, blue for leeks, pale green celery, dark green brassicas etc. Around the whole area were begonias to give life to the whole area. The Herb Garden had a vast range of herbs some of which I had not heard of. The gardeners over the past few years have been doing organic gardening by introducing plants that insects love, doing a lot of digging and hoeing, and using natural fertizers.
The main feature of the gardens is the symmetry. Which means LOTS of clipping and shaping. I'll never complain about ours again. In fact I'd like to plant more at our house with box hedged gardens containing flowers.
The others had decided to wait on one of the roads beyond Villandry to watch the Le Tour de France coming through. As we were ahead of them and the wait was going to be 2hours or more we opted to continue on and get back in time to see it on
We stopped at the Chateau de Usse on the way back for a drink and a look from the outside. Little did we know what we were missing until when we saw the Le Tour filming! Beyond Rigny Usse we struck our first hills of the day together with road works at Huismes. We kept seeing smaller chateaus along the way so there must be many more about than just those mentioned in our book. From Huismes through to Chinon were more grain fields russling and waving in the wind. The countryside was rolling and the villages very old. It was a most enjoyable day of great scenery, quiet roads, and easy riding. The temperatures had started up into the upper 20 degrees but by then we had done most of the riding.
After carefully finding our way through Chinon, we swooped down a very steep hill by the fortress looking out over the town, and straight into the Old Town. We eventually found our hotel, called the Plantagenet in Chinon just set back from the Loire in the Jean of Arc Square. After a shower and a bit of relaxation we watched Le Tour on TV
Showing buildings back to the 1400's with the tower of the fortification on the hill in the background
then went out to explore the town. It has some amazing streets, so original that you could almost imagine you were back 500+ years with people of that era still about. Many houses were built in the 1400's and have lopsided walls, timbered panels, small ornate doors, and very weather worn limestone if they were built of it at the time. There are restaurants and bars everywhere so it wasn't hard to find somewhere to eat for dinner. We went to L'atble where we had a very good French style meal and while there met some others on the same tour group as ourselves who had also watched Le Tour as it went through. They had taken lots of photos to show us, and there were the Froudies getting into the action.
Tot: 0.057s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 12; qc: 28; dbt: 0.0247s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (10.17.0.13); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.1mb