Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fast Path across France (Part Deux)

The next morning we headed down to breakfast and boy was Hayley excited about that.  The Hotel Diderot  is known for the jams that they make.  They had shown us a whole cupboard full of them when we checked in yesterday.   The breakfast that we were served was really lovely.  They had fresh goat cheese that they recommended we mix with some local honey and some walnuts.  The walnuts were still in the hull and we had to crack them ourselves.   They also gave us two big baskets full of croissant, baguette and toasted brioche bread.  The jams were lined up on a table and you served yourself from the jars.  Justin and I liked the Rhubarb jam the best.  We were also served unfiltered apple juice and coffee, tea or chocolate.  Boy if tomorrow's breakfast is like this one, I don't think I'll leave France.
As we checked out of the Hotel Diderot in Chinon, the lady presiding at the desk chatted with Bob and I.  She told us that Rick Steves was checking in tonight at their hotel.  We told her to say hello to him from "a family from Seattle".  :)  

Photos in the courtyard of the hotel.  
 I like the jug used as a birdhouse.

We made it to Chenonceaux with little issue and were thrilled to find out that it wasn't as crowded as Rick Steves' book indicated it would be.  This is a little tower in front of the chateau.
Here is a photo of Bob at the front door of Chenonceaux.  His hand is on the door knocker that is set high enough for a man on a horse to use. 
There is also a regular size door set in the larger door.
This is a majolica painted tile in the guard room.   Majolica is a glaze that is painted on and then fired.  
Here is the room with the painted tile.  The rabbit tile is just to the left of the chest.  As you can see, centuries of walking on the files, have worn the glaze off of the main part of the floor.   Only around the edges of the room is the glaze still intact.
This chateau was originally built by a wealthy family and then became property of the royal family at some point.  Henri II gave it to his mistress Diane de Poitiers.  She built the bridge spanning the river Cher to provide easier access to hunting.  After Henri's death, his wife Catherine de Medici took it away and built a three story gallery on the bridge.  We didn't walk up the river to take a picture of the entire chateau so here's a link to what it looks like in its entirety. 

Some of the tiles were embossed with Henri and Diane's initials.  
In one room some of the tiles were embossed with a crown.  Again, with wear the embossing has been effaced from the tiles except along the walls.  Here is another picture of what remains of the glazed tiles in the hallway.  These floors must have been beautiful when they were new.
Most of the rooms and hallways were filled with fresh flowers.  One of the rooms on the second floor had an enormous vase full of white Easter lilies.  Their perfume filled the entire second floor. 
The tour took us into the kitchen.  I am always fascinated with the actual tools and objects used by people in times past.  Sometimes the tools aren't recognizable, but in this case, not much has changed in cooking utensils in 400 years.
Unfortunately, this picture doesn't show the fact that this carving block had seen some heavy usage.  The surface undulated from one side to the other.
Photos taken from some of the bedroom windows.  It would have been idyllic to wake up to these views...at least in summer.  These chateau must have been freezing in the winters.
 This one reminds me of something you'd see in the Haunted House at Disneyland.
Our time here was enjoyable.  We went through the maze in the gardens, grabbed a sandwich at the kiosk and then walked to the car.  Along the way I took this photo.  It just struck me as interesting.  It's the bark on one of the trees that lined the drive into the chateau.  

It took us about 3 and a half hours to get to Autun, but that's a story for another day and post.

Step count for Monday: 9,648

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