Friday, April 1, 2011

a castle or two...

or three, or four. i may not have gotten to eat my daily pastry (shame, i know) but i did see plenty of castles to make up for it. castles are widely available for the seeing when you are in the loire valley. we drove around the spring time french countryside, which was unbelievably more gorgeous that the first time due to even more greenness, flowers, and blossoming trees, and stopped to see five extravagant and different castles. 

we started with azay le rideau, one situated in the very depths of the loire valley in the midst of a quaint little town. we walked up stair cases, peered into kitchen chambers, took turns about the room, and wandered the gardens. it was absolutely picturesque.
anyone up for a game of pooh sticks?
don't judge my outfit repeat.
 B is for Brown.
 taking a turn about the gardens
 friends and foliage
 next we headed to usse to find the sleeping beauty castle. it was built on a lovely hillside, but due to the fact that it is a privately owned castle - the duke who lives there can charge whatever kind of high prices with no student discounts for admissions. we opted to not pay the exorbitant rates. we were content with our view from outside the gates... kind of.
 the next castle on our agenda was villandry - famous for its gardens. we enjoyed seeing the children's chambers in the castle, but it was the gardens that were absolutely what all the excitement was about. there were four different gardens - the garden of love, the water garden, the sun garden/maze and the vegetable gardens. i loved the sun garden most of all, especially because it had yet another awesome european playground. not going to lie the 'labyrinth' was a little bit of a let down, though we did get some good limbo-ing in.
kids room
 look mom! i'm a princess
 love gardens.
see any hearts?
 abby loves trees
 just putting on a show for the villandry visitors
 awesome park
 sun garden colors
 five years old
 footwear selections
in the middle of the maze
 wedding pictures at a castle?
no big deal.
 next up we hit the classic castle built right on a river, literally, chenonceau. it was just perfection. the castle was cool because it really is built over the river, but we also got to just lie outside on the lawn in the sunshine in the gardens. perfection. it had extensive gardens as well, and another maze that was a little bit higher on the difficulty scale. best moment was when two men walked by jame, ab, katrina and i lying on the grass and said 'ah, the four queens'. ah yes, that is us. my favorite part of the castle was probably the kitchens. they had all kinds of cake pans and butcher knives on display. awes.
wishing well
 castle on a river
 maze pop up
 last but not least we headed to amboise, which was supposedly only a two star castle, but actually proved to be much more. this one was a down town castle - right in the middle of the town. most of the castle is actually destroyed, but what is left is pretty neat. we had no idea until we happened upon it, but this is where mr. da vinci rests in peace. we also did some quality lying on the lawn here in amboise. it is funny to just be lying on the grass in the sunshine with an ant crawling up your skirt and then having the realization that you are lying on the lawn of a castle. the real deal, legitimate castle that people really lived in and ruled from. crazy.
chapel where da vinci is buried
 all the girls on the trip
 grass time
 blue skies

 girls on the lawn
 attempt number seventeen?

okay remember when i said i didn't get my daily pastry? APRIL FOOLS! lame, lame i know, but that is the best i could do. i did get my pastry in the very town of amboise right after visting the castle.

pastry du jour: clafoutis
description: cherry custard tarte like delight
taste rating: new, exciting, and very tasty
 and for dinner we had some seriously delectable kebabs. 
french fry fork fight anyone?

castles, cherries, tan lines, kebabs, and lots of french countryside. couldn't ask for a better day.


  1. lame april fools.
    but I have officially decided when I get married I will take my wedding pictures on castle grounds.

  2. I thought the April Fools was hilarious! Maybe because I think it is oh so important to have that daily pastry. My mouth waters at every pastry picture and description!

    Mal - I will be on those castle grounds to see those wedding pictures!