Friday, 27 December 2013

Chenonceau at Christmas...

After having promoted Chateau de Chenonceau as place to visit over Christmas we felt it only proper to go and see it for ourselves - and you. As a favourite destination of many visitors to the Loire Valley and indeed to us, we feel that the work they do, although rewarded by the number of visitors, should be further recognized. If there was an Oscar celebration for best chateau presentation then Chenonceau's Christmas display would surely walk away with the golden statue.

Boxing Day 2013 proved to be the ideal choice for our visit - a beautiful winter's day here in the Loire Valley and perfect for walking off the excesses of  Christmas day. The chateau herself was looking resplendent but once inside the magic of Christmas was apparent in most of the apartments. 

From the moment you pass through its heavy main door you are greeted with the spirit of Christmas.

Our favourite tree was probably the one in the drawing room...

although the red glow in 'Cesar of Vendome's' room added something to the tree set up in there. 

Some displays, like the one in Catherine de Medici's and

 Gabrielle d' Estree's bedrooms were quite subtle...

while others were quite elaborate... the display in Louise of Lorraine's bedroom.

Probably the only disappointing part of the visit was in the gallery, where I anticipated a tree in every alcove...but maybe that was expecting too much!

We had to make do with a large tree at the far end.

Although the chateau was busy with visitors I was able, with a lot of patience, to get most of my shots without 'people' in them but the kitchens were very popular, as ever and this was the best I could do.

Well worth the visit.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas markets in the Loire Valley

Christmas holiday time in France is a very special time as families prepare for the festivities, they are also enjoying the traditional Christmas markets that you'll find in many towns and villages of the Loire Valley and there is still time to find one.You can check with your local tourist office as to where you  will find the one nearest to you.

There is a popular market in Tours although when we visited in 2011 it was a bit of a damp squib...but don't let that put you off visiting this fine city,