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

Monday, 27 August 2012

Rooftops and ceilings

Time for another post about my June trip to the Loire Valley ...

On Thursday, the day after our fantastic blogger party, the weather unexpectedly turned grey, windy and rainy. My initial plan was to visit the Garden Festival at Chaumont in the morning, have lunch there and then to return to Vouvray, stopping over at Amboise to visit the castle and the Clos Lucé, Da Vinci's last home.

However, seeing the overcast sky and menacing clouds I suggested to switch the visits around and start with Amboise, where we could easily search for shelter if or when the rainclouds decided to open the tap. Mats and Vera agreed and off we went. To my surprise, the town was almost deserted. I've never seen Amboise so quiet and devoid of activity in the 14 years that I've visited the place. We found a nice parking spot at the foot of the castle and strolled up the stairs to the ticket office. And that is where all the people were ... The queue was manageable though and pretty soon we were walking up the steep entrance lane to the spot where the tourist guides were waiting.

The vaulted ceiling in Leonardo's chapel.

We agreed on taking a solo visit, depending on the leaflet to learn all about the château. This was my third or maybe even fourth visit of Amboise castle, and I therefore decided to explore the place at my own pace ... meaning faster than my friends. Nevertheless, I spent quite a bit of time in the chapel where Leonardo Da Vinci is buried, admiring the vaulted and beautifully sculptured ceiling and the stained-glass windows.

The sculptured door in and out of the chapel.
That's Mats on the left, coming in just when I was ready to leave.

Next I took my time to admire the rooftops of Amboise and the surrounding countryside.

Notice how quiet the town is!

By the time we had finished visiting the chapel, it had started to rain. Not much, just a few drops and not enough to flee inside. However, Vera looked very uncomfortable seeing the dark clouds overhead. "I don't want to stay up here in the open with a thunderstorm brewing." she said. I can't blame her, because one never knows what is inside those clouds. So we made our way into the 'Logis' ... where it felt like 'la rue Neuve' (Brussels' busiest shopping street - What's your equivalent?) during the week before Christmas. Groups of school children (utterly bored), pensioners, tourists from all four corners of the world (like the three of us!) ... shuffling through the great hall, stumbling up and down the stairs.

We tried to stay away from and ahead of the moving 'mob' and I'm sure my friends enjoyed the visit, reading all about the castle's history and features in the leaflet. Occasionally we looked out of the window.The rain was pouring down and we congratulated ourselves on choosing the castle as a safe 'haven' ...


Bob said...

i think the castle was a perfect place to be during a rain storm. often makes for good photographs.

quilterliz said...

G'day Ladybird. My first visit to your blog, really enjoyed it. I too have long held dreams to live in France. My first visit there was two years ago and I loved it, so much so that my son and I are going back next January. We have a visit to the Loire Valley planned. I would like to see where Leonardo is buried.Take care. Liz...

VirginiaC said...

I'm enjoying your posts of your trip with Mats and Vera.
Leonardo's chapel is truly beautiful.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Those a beautiful shots of Amboise from on high, Martine.

GaynorB said...

Fantastic pics of Leonardo's chapel, Martine.

Carolyn said...

It's always good to have alternate plans in case of a rainy day.

Louise said...

Your descriptions and photos took me back in my mind to the day I wandered through the same chapel in 2006...lovely memories, thanks Martine

ladybird said...

Bob, Visiting the castle was the perfect decision given the circumstances. I have a stack of photos of Amboise castle. Maybe I should try and sell them to the local tourist board.;)

Hi Liz, Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog, posting a comment and becoming a follower. Do visit Leonardo's chapel when you're in Amboise. You won't be disappointed.

Virginia, Thank you. I still have to write about our two last days in the Touraine. So there are more photos and stories to come.

Ken, Thanks! Seeing this photos, I realize that there are still so many streets, places and churches to discover in Amboise. I never seem to have enough time to do so, though.

Gaynor, Merci! The chapel is so beautiful that all photos come out right :)

Carolyn, Over the years I have learned that an alternate (rainy day) plan is an absolute must.

Louise, Any chance you being there in June 2006? We might have met without knowing it!! lol