Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chateau-A-Rama

In Charlotte every fall for as long as I can remember (and I have lived in Charlotte for 22 years), the Homebuilders Association of Charlotte hosts a Home A Rama, a self-guided tour of luxury custom homes by local builders. It is a fun opportunity to see the latest features, styles, and designs in the most expensive homes.

Last Tuesday and Wednesday, Amanda and I visited the Loire Valley southwest of France for our own little Chateaux A Rama to see the oldest features, styles, and designs in the various "homes" of French Royalty.

Specifically, our tour included stops at:

1. Chartres Cathedral (ok, technically not a "Chateau" but still pretty impressive)
2. Château de Blois
3. Chateau de Valmer (Amanda's dad's name, so we had to check it out!)
4. Château de Chenonceau
5. Château de Chambord

Additionally, we saw Château de Chaumont and Château d'Amboise on the road along the Loire River on the way to Tours but we did not stop to visit them.

Our tour began by taking the RER B to Orly Airport south of Paris, where we picked up our rental car.

We traveled to Chartres, Blois, and Tours on the first day, spending the night at the lovely faux-chateau hotel Domaine de Beauvois in Luynes, just outside of Tours, where we also had a great dinner.

The second day, we headed back to Paris, stopping by Chenonceaux and Chambord.

The roads in France are perfectly fine, although be prepared to pay tolls on the major autoroutes (roads prefixed with "A"). Also, do not miss an exit (or take the wrong exit!) as it will likely be some time before you find another to turn around.

Finally, traffic near Paris is hell and gas is expensive ($8/gallon).

This is a map of our itinerary. Click on a placemark to see the label. I will post separately on each stop.


View Loire Valley Chateaux in a larger map

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