I'm not especially in love with gardens, but the rumours are true, they are beautiful. Although much of the gardens tend towards the formal, geometric layouts, there are also sections of more "natural" (although no doubt carefully planned and tended) sections to enjoy. The château itself is not exceptional, but the entry ticket to the château and gardens is not much more expensive than the gardens alone, and probably worth it for no other reason than you get to climb up into the tower and get a c. 300° view of the gardens. The weather forecast said partly cloudy, which actually just meant scatterings of fluffy white clouds, all the better for pretty photographs, and temperatures which were nice and warm without being oppressive.
And, since it was so close and I was up and out bright and early, I was back in time for lunch, with plenty of time to clean my flat, make my famous potato salad, and head to Liz's new flat for a barbecue dinner!
I'd love to get to Chambord as well before I leave, but I'm not sure I'll have time to. But in any case, I'm sure Tours hasn't seen the last of me! The countdown to leaving is a good reminder to look about myself and appreciate where I am. I try not to forget that there are plenty of people who dream their whole lives of seeing the châteaux of the Loire Valley, and I've been very fortunate to live in such a lovely part of the world and visit many of them (although I sometimes have a sneaking suspicion that there are people out there who came for a week and managed to see more!)
Anyway, I'll leave you with a few of my photos... (PS which, looking back at them, are strangely empty of people. Some of the formal gardens are not open for walking about in, for the rest I suppose just luck. I definitely wasn't all alone there, although I suppose the size of the grounds and the fact that I was in and out before lunchtime cut down on the crowds!)
|Can almost pretend I took a break in the lavender fields of Provence|
|The love gardens, representing the stages of love from passion, romance, flirting (?) to jealousy|
|A beautiful ceiling salvaged from a Spanish palace - there are three others like it scattered around the world|
|The kitchen gardens|