Yesterday we left Paris bright and early and headed for the Loire Valley, land of extravegant old chateaux, quaint little villages and good red wine. We are staying in Chinon, a small and un-touristy little town known for being the place where Joan of Arc came to convince the future French king of raising an army against the British. The town square has a large statue of her on horseback trampling one of the cursed English. The hotel we are staying in is also a small winery and makes all its own jam. At breakfast there were freshly baked croissants and brioche with over 20 types of jam. Its a huge hit with the tour members who all love this place and want to stay longer. I have to say that I continue to be impressed by the hotels our tours stay in.
On the way here yesterday we toured the chateaux of Chambord (immense) and the chateaux of Chenonceau (cute), known as the 'ladies' chateaux because its so pretty and because it was the home of the mistess of a French king. You may have seen pictures of it, a large part of it crosses a river and is surrounded by nice gardens. Today we toured the gardens of Villandry, which I think are the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. Tonight we are having a wine tasting at our hotel and then I have the evening free. It is a great group of people on this tour, including one couple who live in my nieghborhood. We haven`t met before this trip, but they know my neighbors Ron and Megan. What a tiny little world we live in. I will post more photos when I get to a place with wifi so I can use my laptop.