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Chateau & Cheese in the Loire Valley
By Carla Oneile
26 October 2010

We planned a 5 days to the Loire Valley this year to visit as many Chateau’s as possible and to eat and drink our way through as much cheese and wine as humanly possible.   We certainly achieved this as France never disappoints.
Our first morning in Angers and after a quick coffee and decadent chocolate and almond croissant we headed off to Angers Castle which houses the Apocalypse Tapestry, the longest tapestry in the world.   Next stop was the Chateau de Villandry with its spectacular gardens which would inspire even a plastic flower lover to go home and plant, plant, plant.   Fuelled by a terrific goat’s cheese platter it was onto Chaumont-sur-Loire Chateau.   This beautiful chateau dominates the Loire River and houses contemporary art exhibits throughout the year.
Onto Amboise for a couple of nights, staying at the lovely Le Pavillon des Lys.  We thoroughly enjoyed the degustation dinner in the garden restaurant with the dessert tasting plate being a highlight.   Staying in Amboise gave us time to visit the local food markets, the Chateau d’Amboise and Le Clos Luc, the final home of Leonardo da Vinci.   Le Clos Luc is home to an impressive display of Leonardo’s inventions.   Still not tiring of chateaus, although a little over the many thousand steps, it was onto Chambord the largest castle in the Loire Valley with 440 rooms and impressive double staircase in the centre of the chateau.  
Standing on the River Cher, the Chateau de Chenonceau is probably the most recognised chateau in the Loire Valley.  It has been owned by Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici amongst others.   Next a visit to the privately owned Chateau Cheverny with its very impressive room displays.   Cheverny was the model for Marlinspike Hall in the adventures of Tintin books.
Having now managed to eat our weight in cheese and pastries, all washed down with local wines, we waddled into Versailles for a day’s cooking class.  This included a trip to the local produce market in Versailles [more cheese] and the opportunity to impress our cooking teacher with our acquired French phrases and culinary ability.   Visit Corinne Preteur’s website  www.vacationsandlifestyle.com  for this and other interesting options. 

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