To make a long story short, I picked up the letter at the post office the next day and immediately felt relieved - but at the same time very much intrigued - when I saw the sender's address. Once again the Conseil Général du Département de l'Indre-et Loire was writing to me. What could they possibly have to say? Did I receive the keyring by mistake. Were they going to ask me to return it? That would have been a shame.
No, it actually was excellent and very exciting news. The letter read that I had won first prize in another internet quiz! No keyring this time, but something far more valuable, because the prize consisted of:
- 1 night for two in a chambre d'hôtes (Bed & Breakfast) near Amboise
- dinner for two in a gastronomic restaurant in Amboise
- 2 wine tasting sessions in Amboise and Chinon
- 2 x 6 bottles of Amboise and Chinon wine
- 2 tickets to the Château d'Amboise
- 2 tickets to the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau
- 2 tickets and a 'dégustation' of 'poires tapées' in Rivarennes
for a total value of ... 370 euro!
This was the first time in my life that I had ever won first prize in a competition. I was stunned and pleased at the same time. We had no experience what so ever with staying in a chambre d'hôtes and we even felt a bit awkward about the whole idea. I had heard colleagues and friends talk about it, but very often their experiences weren't exactely positive.
However, one look at the website of the Château that the Conseil Général had chosen for our stay immediately reassured us. The Château de Pintray, in the village of Laussault-sur-Loire near Amboise, turned out to be a charming manor surrounded by vineyards.
So we decided to integrate the above program in our 2007 visit. Little did we know at the time that this first B & B experience would completely change our way of visiting the Loire Valley.