Friday, October 17, 2014

Mom's 1953 Europe Road Trip: Châteaux Along the Loire

From Mom's Europe trip diary, in the "PLACES VISITED" section: 
October 17, Saturday – Road between Angoulême and Orléans, France
Hotel really put one over on me.  They added our dinner (which already had service charges on it) to the hotel bill and then took a service charge of total bill.  Didn't find it out until already out of town.  Rained the whole day -- stopped for lunch at Poitiers and for once got pretty good food.  Crossed the Loire River at Tours and then drove along it through the Château country.  Saw a few châteaux through a fine mist. 

Below are photos of some of the châteaux my mother might have seen along the Loire River between Tours and Orléans.

The Château d'Amboise, originally constructed in the 9th century, received major improvements in the 1400s and 1500s when it became a French royal residence. It originally guarded a ford across the Loire River, and later a bridge.
Château d'Amboise [view across the Loire River, 21 September 2013, cropped] / Berouche (Own work) / CC-BY-SA-3.0

Clos Lucé is connected to Château Amboise by an underground tunnel.  Leonardo da Vinci lived here between 1516 and 1519 at the invitation of French King François I.  The artist died here and is buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in Château d'Amboise.  Today this building is a museum honoring da Vinci and featuring his works.
Clos Lucé [22 August 2006] / Taxiarchos228 at the German language Wikipedia / GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0

The name "Chaumont" comes from the French words chauve mont, which mean "bald hill."  Château de Chaumont sits on such a site above the Loire River. The current building was constructed in the 1400s.
Château de Chaumont (Loir-et-Cher) [taken from the Loire River, 2 June 2011]/ Daniel Jolivet / CC BY 2.0

This wing of the Château de Blois was built by François I (who reigned from 1515 to 1547). It has a famous spiral staircase, which you can see at the front in the photo below.  This royal residence is also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing with her army to drive the English from Orléans.  The château consists of several buildings constructed from the 13th to the 17th century around a main courtyard.  It has 564 rooms (100 of them bedrooms), all with fireplaces, and 75 staircases..
Château de Blois - François I wing [11 July 1994] / Roger Wollstadt / CC BY-SA 2.0
The Château de Meung-sur-Loire was the country residence of the Bishops of Orléans. The oldest still-existing parts of it date back to the 12th century.  Joan of Arc recaptured this from the British on June 14, 1429.
Château de Meung-sur-Loire [14 July 2013] / Calips (Own work) / CC-BY-SA-3.0

According to the "HOTELS STOPPED AT" section of the trip diary, my mother and her friends stayed at the Hotel Les Arcades in Orléans, France.

At left is a map with the likely route for the day, and below is a map of the route from Tours to Orléans along the Loire River, and the châteaux along the way.

This is the 71st in a series of posts transcribing entries in my mother's 1953 Europe Trip journal.

© Amanda Pape - 2014 - click here to e-mail me.

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