We have only done the Loire Valley once. But it was a lovely once.
Robb located the delightful Chateau Des Ormeaux for us all to stay. It’s not a gay chateau. It’s a chateau that happens to have been restored by and run by 6 gay guys. I’d tell you to mention us, but it was SOOOO long ago (1999) that Lyle had that full head of Blond Ambition hair.
However, if you take this photo (below) of us sitting in the living room reading they may recall that we spent a lovely meal with the six of them and a friend from down the street who cooked for us. I can’t imagine they get many guests who peruse their photo albums of Halloween drag photos, share their love of all things Dalida (above) and wind up drunk on pear cordial (moonshine) crawling down the kitchen counters on their way to skinny-dipping in the pool. But then again, I could be wrong.
It’s a great central location for seeing all the chateaus of the valley. But please don’t. There are too many! We picked some top notes, some middle notes a couple of “what the hell”s to get a good cross sample.
I guess I should start with a confession. We had just seen “Austin Powers, The Spy Who Shagged Me” before our trip. Remember that was the one with the mini Doctor Evil. As you are fully aware, I can get obsessed with something quite easily and this was no exception. I was obsessed with saying “mini” like Dr. Evil. Mini-croissants. Mini-backpack. Mini-headache. Mini-pot-au-chocolate. As we drove in to the Valley, I saw it. My first (and not my last) billboard for “MINI-CHATEAU” Park. All day, all night, I mocked it. On our way out to the first chateau of the day, we drove right past it. To spite me, the rest of the car decided to teach me a lesson and make me go through it.
Mini Chateaux Val De Loire was FANTASTIC! Its like a miniature golf course (sans golfing) of every chateau in the Loire Valley. See it before you drive there! Get an aerial view! Play Godzilla storming France! (Yeah, we took a few of those pictures but I don’t have them scanned into the computer yet.) Seriously, it sounds completely stupid, but I think it’s a great leaping off point. You’ll already have your checklist of chateaus you want to see. This can help you confirm that you really want to see them and add a few you had no idea were so interesting.
You must see Chateau Chenonceau. Its the most picturesque of them all bridging the river. Read you guide book, follow the signs, schedule it so you can have a little snack on the grounds and enjoy it that much longer.
For once I have put in a photo that is nearly full size. Click on the photo above to embiggen and fill you screen.Chateau Chambord is also a must see. Not as quaintly picturesque as Chenonceau because it is so much larger. But then any chateau that inspires booze stays on my list.
My brother Gary suggested Chateau Beauregard. He referred to it as a smaller hunting chateau that was less visited. He was correct. Less visited and still pretty, Beauregard still had family living in some of the house which were marked off as private. This also turned out to be the day we all wore similar shades of chartreuse and refused to change. Except Lewis, he had on a cream sweater. We refered to him as our tour leader, Mister Boscolo.
Tours”. You really can’t go wrong in seeing any chateau. One tip, don’t over do it. They will all begin to blur together into one over the top gilded brick in your brain. Okay, yeah, that happened to me and that’s why I can’t give you more detailed info.