Rollicking Road Trip Through France: Chapter 2
Amboise as Homebase
(FYI – I am writing this while watching the Superbowl on S’s computer…)
Amboise does have its own châteaux, but it’s also a common homebase for visiting the nearby châteaux in the Loire valley since it is located centrally to many of them. For that reason, it’s also supposedly very touristy, but at least at this time of year that doesn’t seem to be the case. It was quiet and sleepy and pretty cute. (Kinda like me right around 10 o’clock these days).
Before visiting the popular sights in Amboise, we visited a nearby wine producer: Plou et Fils. It’s a family-run business that has been around since the 1500s. The owner gave us a tour of the caves, and then we did a tasting. They produce 19 styles and they invite you to taste any or all of them for free. We did not try all of them but sampled a red, white, rose, and sparkling. The prices were reasonable so we picked up a few bottles and subsequently had them with dinner each night for the rest of our stay.
We have found most of our apartments on Airbnb or Homeway for this trip. Our apartment here had a great outside space. We enjoyed one of our wine purchases there on one of the warmer afternoons.
We mostly ate dinners at home but had a really lovely lunch at La Fourchette. It’s a small, cozy place (8 tables maybe) solely run by a mother and daughter team. The mother is the chef and the daughter is the hostess/waitress. There are only 7 menu options – 2 entrees, 2 plats, 2 desserts, and a cheese course. I love small menus. So naturally, we tried almost everything (we just didn’t get one of the desserts). In addition to enjoying the food, they were both super nice and attentive in just the right way. The pics of this meal are on instagram, so not re-posting them here.
(Lady GaGa just came on…)
The Château of Amboise is smaller than some of the other well-known ones, but it’s still fit for a king. It’s perched above the Loire river and the views of the city and river from here are gorgeous. The coolest thing we learned was that Leonardo da Vinci (yes, THE Leo) is buried in a small chapel on the château grounds. We had no idea he was here, so it was a really cool discovery.
Speaking of Leo, after being invited by the king, he lived in Amboise in Clos Lucé for the last 3 years of his life. This house has now been turned into a Leonardo Da Vinci museum. It’s very informative. And in addition to walking through the chateau, the grounds are particularly interesting as there are models of his inventions and other works scattered throughout. And right as we were leaving, we saw a peacock — so I obsessed over that for a good 20 pictures or so. I will spare you most of these.
(Unfortunately, I fell asleep before the Superbowl ended and before finishing this post, but the score was 9-28 when I last looked. I woke up to finish this post and quickly checked my phone to confirm a Falcons victory…color me shocked).