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Offline HansF

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #120 on: March 31, 2014, 03:13:29 pm »
Nog....nog....
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Offline Goose

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #121 on: April 01, 2014, 02:23:36 pm »
 :drif: :drif: :drif: :drif: :drif: :drif: :drif: :drif: :drif:
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Offline IDR

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #122 on: April 01, 2014, 10:24:20 pm »
Day 11: Exploring a (single) Chateau

The Loire River valley is especially well known for all the chateaus to be found and explored - having been the playground of the rich, famous and royal in the Renaissance era.  We had a list of quite a couple to visit and, having spent yesterday walking around Amboise, the list was effectively thrown out the window.  After another proper French breakfast of fresh croissants, jambon, fromage et confiture, we were on the road at about 11:00, on our way West to the first stop.

Château de Villandry - from wikipedia:
Quote
The Château de Villandry is a castle-palace located in Villandry, in the département of Indre-et-Loire, France.

The lands where an ancient fortress once stood were known as Colombier until the 17th century. Acquired in the early 16th century by Jean Le Breton, France's Controller-General for War under King Francis I, a new château was constructed around the original 14th-century keep where King Philip II of France once met Richard I of England to discuss peace. It is also known for its beautiful gardens.

The château remained in the Le Breton family for more than two centuries until it was acquired by the Marquis de Castellane. During the French Revolution the property was confiscated and in the early 19th century, Emperor Napoleon acquired it for his brother Jérôme Bonaparte.

In 1906, Joachim Carvallo purchased the property and poured an enormous amount of time, money and devotion into repairing it and creating what many consider to be the most beautiful gardens anywhere. Its famous Renaissance gardens include a water garden, ornamental flower gardens, and vegetable gardens. The gardens are laid out in formal patterns created with low box hedges. In 1934, Château de Villandry was designated a Monument historique. Like all the other châteaux of the Loire Valley, it is a World Heritage Site.

Still owned by the Carvallo family, the Château de Villandry is open to the public and is one of the most visited châteaux in France; in 2007 the château received about 330,000 visitors.

Yes, you read that right, it is still owned privately.

The ride down was also pretty special - all around the fringes of a forest...

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/6eefgABaiik" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/6eefgABaiik</a>

As we enter the town of Villandry at the end of the video, you'll see all the little road-side cafes and shops.  This is what most villages are like throughout all the parts of France we were in.  There
are no malls or closed-off suburbs and estates - as if life is as it was hundreds of years ago, only with more modern transport.  I really, really liked it!

Now, keep in mind that we were planning on going past at least three Chateaus on this day... ::)

Admittance is quite steep, at about EUR 15 per person if I remember correctly, and then you walk across the moat, through the courtyard and straight into the chateau itself for a tour.

As seen from the keep


The opulence screams at you in every room...


I would LOVE a fireplace like this in my kitchen!


The ceilings in all these buildings are spectacularly handmade


A child's room


Gorgeous marble flooring


A view out of a window onto the gardens that Villandry is so famous for


With a massive art collection in the galleries


Quote
This ceiling, in the Oriental drawing room, comes from the Maqueda ducal palace, built in the 15th century in Toledo, Spain. That palace was dismantled in 1906 and Carvallo bought one of the 4 ceilings of this type. The 3,600 pieces took a full year to re-assemble and combines decorative elements from both Christian and Moorish art.


With fantastic detail against the walls


Another view over the gardens - the blocks on the left each symbolise different aspects of love - passionate, tender, fickle and tragic. ???


In the far background, the water garden, in the center the French garden, and in the foreground on the lower level the vegetable garden


On the way down from the keep


Regular art exhibitions are held in the eaves


Where you can also see other awesome handiwork - these beams are about 40cm thick

After the tour we headed out into the gardens to inspect them up close - strolled around for a couple of hours, lost each other in a maze and sat in the water garden for what seemed like hours, having a bite to eat, and finally a beer on the way out to the bike.

We spent the WHOLE afternoon there - so any plans we might have had for the rest of the day were pretty much down the tubes ;D  I was adamant to try and at least fit in one more, at least if only to see it from outside.  We headed out to Chenonceau, which has an amazing history behind it - much more so than Villandry.  Feel free to read up on it at the Wikipedia link above - and just look at it:



But it was not to be - we arrived about an hour before closing time, and at EUR 25 each to enter we decided to call it a day and headed back to Amboise for another quiet night in.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/LgdNVJf-9eM" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/LgdNVJf-9eM</a>
This is a pretty boring video - but it has a nice soundtrack, and shows the one place where I committed my one and only wrong side of the road faux pas for the whole trip.  Leaving the garage shown at about 3:20 in the video, there were no cars on the road and very little other reference of which side of the road to use.  We here heading in the opposite direction of travel as shown in the video.  Luckily Vida realised the mistake and pointed it out to me before there were tears
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 06:18:50 am by IDR »
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Offline Rynet

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #123 on: April 03, 2014, 06:10:56 am »
Thanks IDR . Beautiful and interesting.   :thumleft: I wouldn't mind if you posted something from this trip every day for the next year  . :biggrin:

That 1st vid is not showing ? Who is singing in the 2nd vid?

Love the gardens at the Château de Villandry  :drif: and that kitchen , gorgeous , love the pumpkin in the fireplace . ;D

Just read about that 2nd Chateau , the Château de Chenonceau ,and it is fascinating : some of the excerpts from the link you posted :

"The original château was torched in 1412 to punish owner Jean Marques for an act of sedition. He rebuilt a château and fortified mill on the site in the 1430s.
..
In 1535 the château was seized from Bohier's son by King Francis I of France for unpaid debts to the Crown; after Francis' death in 1547, Henry II offered the château as a gift to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who became fervently attached to the château along the river...Diane de Poitiers was the unquestioned mistress of the castle, but ownership remained with the crown until 1555, when years of delicate legal maneuvers finally yielded possession to her. However, after King Henry II died in 1559, his strong-willed widow and regent Catherine de' Medici forced Diane to exchange it for the Château Chaumont.[5] Queen Catherine then made Chenonceau her own favorite residence, adding a new series of gardens.
...
On Catherine's death in 1589 the château went to her daughter-in-law, Louise de Lorraine-Vaudémont, wife of King Henry III. At Chenonceau Louise was told of her husband's assassination in 1589 and she fell into a state of depression, spending the remainder of her days wandering aimlessly along the château's corridors dressed in mourning clothes amidst somber black tapestries stitched with skulls and crossbones.
..
Madame Louise Dupin (fr), brought life back to the castle by entertaining the leaders of The Enlightenment: Voltaire, Montesquieu, Buffon, Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, Pierre de Marivaux, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. She saved the château from destruction during the French Revolution, preserving it from being destroyed by the Revolutionary Guard because it was essential to travel and commerce, being the only bridge across the river for many miles. She is said to be the one who changed the spelling of the Château (from Chenonceaux to Chenonceau) to please the villagers during the French Revolution. She dropped the "x" at the end of the Château's name to differentiate what was a symbol of royalty from the Republic.
...
During World War I the gallery was used as a hospital ward; during the Second War it was a means of escaping from the Nazi occupied zone on one side of the River Cher to the "free" zone on the opposite bank".
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 06:12:58 am by Rynet »
 

Offline IDR

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #124 on: April 03, 2014, 06:53:40 am »
Thanks Rynet - you're my biggest fan ;D

I fixed the first video... And the song in the second video is Jack Parow's Welkom Terug.

I wish I was on holiday long enough to be able to post one like the above every day! But look out for the next day's report - it's going to be a goodie - we ride to Paris, with an AWESOME stopover, Chambord!
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Offline Rynet

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #125 on: April 03, 2014, 07:25:56 am »
Thanks Rynet - you're my biggest fan ;D

I fixed the first video... And the song in the second video is Jack Parow's Welkom Terug.

I wish I was on holiday long enough to be able to post one like the above every day! But look out for the next day's report - it's going to be a goodie - we ride to Paris, with an AWESOME stopover, Chambord!

 :imaposer: that's true, I am your biggest fan  :3some:, I have this thing about France , and goody can't wait for Paris, hope you some pics of the Eifel tower.  :drif:

I thought it was Jack Parow , cool , I like it and thanks I will watch the 1st Vid tomorrow .  :sip:
 

Offline 1ougat

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #126 on: April 03, 2014, 08:17:33 am »
 :sip:
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Offline Jondu

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #127 on: April 03, 2014, 08:54:02 pm »
Book mark nice man
 

Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #128 on: April 04, 2014, 12:42:16 am »
Great to pick this RR up again, I am facinated with just this type of history.

Thanks!

 8)
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Offline IDR

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #129 on: April 08, 2014, 09:55:28 pm »
Day 12: Leaving Amboise for Paris!

We're a little bit sad today, having to leave Amboise.  We were hugely surprised by the town, our accommodation and the whole Loire river valley.  It's a little off the beaten track (considering how beaten most tracks in France are), people are really friendly and there is a stack of tangible history to discover.  As if to suit our mood, the weather was also back to being overcast and drizzly.  However, we had a breakfast of what was left over in the fridge, packed up and headed out. 


Last night of sleeping in the lounge :(

Our destination for the day would be Paris...  :drif:

I had been to Paris before, on a 10 hour lay-over at Charles de Gaulle airport en-route to Canada, where they allowed us to leave the airport.  Didn't have a hell of a lot of time to explore then, but the enchantment of Paris was clear even then, and I was burning to get back, and to share it with Vida too of course.

There was one little planned stop though - to try to make up for all the other Chateau we missed over the previous couple of days.  Riding was good!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Jhdx-Cpp0yU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/Jhdx-Cpp0yU</a>

Château de Chambord was constructed over 28 years, from 1519 - but was never completed.  It is the largest chateau in the Loire valley, and was to serve as a hunting lodge for Francois the 1st.  In the above video you can see the woodsman's cottage on the right as we are entering the grounds.

We didn't want to spend too much time here, as there was some distance to Paris to go (and perhaps even a stop at Versailles on the way) so we didn't pay the entrance fee of EUR 30 each.  It was well worth a stop though ...






Asymmetry


Sporting the latest French fashion... NOT!



Leaving rural France for the most part, the closer we got to Paris, the wider the roads got, and the heavier the traffic.  It was a rush hour Ile-de-France when we arrived and getting lost on the way to Versailles didn't help at all - so much so that we gave it up as a bad job.  An hour (yes - a whole hour) ride through the streets of Paris with kamikaze scooter pilots and lots and lots of French automotive engineering and we arrived at (or near) our accommodation in Les Halles, a stone's throw away from the Chatelet / Les Halles overland and Metro train station.

I have a massive load of video to still process showing the ride to and through Paris, and my laptop battery is flat, so I'll have to do that some other time.  The "ride" report as such is also pretty much at an end as we had the bike parked in a garage for our entire stay in Paris, and basically just hoofed it home via a Dunkirk to Dover ferry and a Heathrow to OR Tambo flight ;D

I will definitely still be reporting about our stay in Paris though - with LOTS and LOTS of photos and info.

Stay tuned!
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #130 on: April 09, 2014, 12:11:13 am »
 :thumleft:
1978. It's 6am, mid winter...two up on a XL 185S ... off to my first casino ever with all of R40 and we've got a full tank of fuel, so enough to get there we reckon.... that's determination...

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Offline Rynet

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Re: A beginner's guide to riding in France
« Reply #131 on: April 09, 2014, 07:01:24 am »
Beautiful .  :drif: Waiting in anticipation for the rest .  :ricky: