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

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

360 steps

On Wednesday morning – the third complete day of this year’s Loire Valley trip – we set out for the town of Loches. Several bloggers who live or own a holiday home in the area had recommended a visit to the weekly market there. As I only have some vague recollections of visiting the Loches market on one occasion during our first years of Loire Valley travel, I was curious to see whether it was as good as Amboise’s or Bourgueil’s.

However, being afraid that if we went to the market first, it would keep us occupied for the best part of the morning, I suggested we’d start the day by visiting the keep and the Logis Royal. Especially, as later that day we had a rendezvous with Ken and Walt in Saint-Aignan for drinks at their house and some wine tasting with a local 'vigneron'.

It was a warm and sunny morning, and we were lucky to find a parking spot well in the shadow cast by the huge dungeon. Before penetrating the medieval town by one of the rampart gates, we walked over to the restaurant ‘La Gerbe d’Or’ to book a table for lunch. Due to the lovely weather and the market, the town was full of people and we wanted to secure a nice table on the terrace.

The entrance fee to the dungeon also entitles you to a visit of the Logis Royal. After handing us the tickets, the young lady at the reception desk picked up a long pointing stick and walked over to a large aerial photo of the dungeon. Tapping the end of the stick on the different parts of the edifice she explained the sequence of the visit. Like obedient pupils we listened and nodded in agreement each time she turned around to look at us, as if to see we were taken it all in. Finally, she wished us a pleasant visit, specifying that the full tour would take about an hour and a half an included 360 steps!

Some of the 360 steps, leading to the top of the dungeon,
are inside the tower in the middle of the this picture.

There were only a few other visitors around and most of the time we had the halls and staircases to ourselves. This was a good thing, as the winding stairs are often very narrow, steep and worn. Halfway through the visit the batteries of my camera were showing signs of impending failure. I therefore had to cut down on flash photography, until we got back to the car where I had a set of spare batteries.

(to be continued)


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