Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Change of plans

Getting this year’s Loire Valley program together turns out to be far more difficult than usual. As I’ll be ‘acting’ as a guide for my friends, I have to find the right balance between things they want to see, sites I think they should see and some places I would like to (re)discover myself.

Last week I thought that I finally had a program that met all these requirements. And then, I received the monthly newsletter of the Touraine tourist board in my inbox! As a result I added the château of Langeais and the exhibition of Food in the Middle Ages on our Thursday list. This however meant that I had to move some of the visits that I had initially planned to another day or put them on the Plan-B list!

After a bit of shuffling around, I decided to skip the market in Chinon, and to drive straight to the museum of Maurice Dufresnes on the Marnay road north of Azay-Le-Rideau. I’ve visited the museum, which is located in an old paper mill, in 2002. It’s the weirdest and most unusual collection of items you’ve ever see; ranging from the last mobile guillotine that was used in France, to the glider plane in which Louis de Funès and Bourvil escaped from occupied France in what is considered as France’s best comedy movie ever: La Grande Vadrouille. I’ll write a more detailed post about it after our visit.

After the museum I'll propose to drive to Villaines-les-Rochers and visit the basket-weavers workshop and showroom. It’ll be my forth visit. I hope that this time I will be able to resist the temptation to buy yet another artfully crafted object …

Next and also new on my list is the restaurant where I propose to have lunch. At first I wanted to return to ‘La Ridelloise’ in Azay-le-Riday where, in 2002, my friend was mistaken for somebody else. The Touraine tourist board’s newsletter, however, made me change my mind. It contained a positive review of a pocket-size restaurant in the lovely village of Crissay-sur-Manse: La table de Béa. So I thought that maybe we could have a light lunch there.

2007: patch of fieldflowers in the village of Crissay-sur-Manse

In the afternoon we can visit the castle of Candé and Wallis Simpson’s dress collection. On the way back, and weather permitting, I’ll suggest stopping at Villandry and having a walk through the gardens. Or we can take the guided tour of the Grottes Pétrifiantes’ at Savonnières.

Next, we’ll cross the Loire River using the suspended bridge in Langeais and visit the aforementioned exhibition, before returning to Vouvray. If we have some time left and if our legs and feet haven’t given up by then, we can pay a quick visit to the Château of Cinq Mars and the Aqueduct of Luynes.

Pfff, just writing about it has left me completely exhausted!



Jean said...

We looked at a troglodyte house in Villaines-les-Rochers when we were house-hunting. It was....interesting !!

The baskets are fantastic but quite expensive to us with the current exchange rate, so we have managed to resist so far.

You certainly have a busy schedule planned. You might need a holiday to get over your holiday !!

Kristopher K Design said...

... sounds like your going to have a wonderful time ... thanks for all the itinerary ideas for whenever it is, that I'm lucky enough to visit again (p.s My favourite place to visit in the Loire Valley is The Château de Chenonceau :)

chm said...

Wait until it's the real thing!

In any case, it's a very eclectic program you got yourself into. But remember that French saying about your eyes being larger than your stomach! LOL-MDR

Jean said...

CHM - that's a very common phrase in England, too. How do you say it in French ? It might come in handy !!

Carolyn said...

Isn't Crissay-sur-Manse a tiny tiny village? We went there because it's on the Most Beautiful Villages list and enjoyed a lovely fall afternoon (actually, about half an hour). But I don't remember any kind of commerce there at all?

I'm looking forward to your trip!

Ken Broadhurst said...

Remember the movie called "If it's Tuesday, this much be Belgium"? LOL.

Jean, people say "il (ou elle) a les les yeux plus gros que le ventre." We say that in America too: "my eyes were bigger than my stomach," for example.

Nadege said...

Martine, have fun no matter what!
Who follows plans anyway, unless you are paid tour guide and have a strict schedule?

ladybird said...

Jean, When you say 'interesting', do you mean interesting as in 'attractive' or as in 'weird'?

Kris, I like Chenonceau too but it's always very crowded, which really makes it difficult to enjoy it to its full extend.

Chm, I admit that it is maybe a bit too much for one day, but we'll decide on the spot which visits we'll take.

Carolyn, Crissay-sur-Manse is very tiny indeed. When we were there some years ago there was one 'Auberge' and a beekeeper selling honey and other bee related products. The restaurant 'La table de Béa' opened only recently. As I like to try new things, lunch there should be fun.

Ken, Wait till you hear/read the rest of the program. That movie is peanuts compared to it! :))

Nadege, I like to have too many things on our to-see list than wondering what to do next. I guess we won't even do half of what is on it.

Carolyn said...

I just googled La table de Bea and it looks terrific. I guess I'll wait a few weeks to hear what you thought about it.

Jean said...

Martine - it wasn't just wierd, it was awful. And spooky.