Monday, May 11, 2009

Vacation 2009 - day 14

May 4, 2009 - Orleans

Up for 7:30am breakfast, talked to hotel staff about touring around. They thought it would be difficult without a car, but it turned out to be impossible to find an automatic transmission to rent. She suggested talking to the local TI. We walked over to the city center and found the TI, and based on their advice, hoped on a 40 min train ride to Blois. From the Blois TI, we bought tickets on a bus tour that included a number of chateaus.

The bus driver was very nice, spoke English, and because we were the only two people who showed up for this particular time of the tour, we got a lot of extra attention and information. The first stop was Chambord, built by Francis I to show off after he re-took Milan but not completed till the reign of Louis XIV. It has a funny history - it spent more time abandoned than being lived in. But it is a very impressive building nonetheless.

The second stop was Cheverny, a family house lived in until 1985. Very fancy, surrounded by a park, but not on the same scale as Chambord.

The third stop was back at Blois, where there is a royal chateau but we didn't have time to see the chateau. Instead, we had supper at the train station restaurant (based on the local tour driver's recommendation) and then caught the train back to Orleans.

After we got back, we wanted to just get a nice dessert. We went to a nice looking restaurant and were able to get seats, but it turned out that they don't just serve dessert - not sure if it was just that restaurant or all French restaurants. In either case, it was pretty annoying. We walked around for the rest of the evening just checking out the architecture in Orleans. At one point, someone driving by yelled something at us and something hit my jacket. Probably just stupid kids, but not a great end to the day.

(pictures from Orleans)

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