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July 8, 2012

You'll come for the Troglodytes but you'll stay for the geese

French websites seldom disappoint. On the English translations of even classy hotel sites, you'll often find delightful turns of phrase like:
For a little break between all those sights seeing, why not relaxing with a wellness stay ?... To that we propose you a stay for two, including a double room in the Manor with breakfasts and a massage package (for 2 hours) at the Jardin de Valentine at the Jardin de Valentine, beauty center in the heart of Amboise (15 min. walk).
Why not relaxing, I demand you? Propose me all you got. I'll takes it.

A wonderful gem I found yesterday was the site for the Troglodyte village outside of Saumur. On the photos and videos page, there were several short videos that one would think would take one on a tour of the cave dwellers' lair. But mostly, there is this. And this. And then there's this one, which started off so promising...

July 6, 2012

I just conquered the Loire

I'm going back to Franceland in but four short weeks, and it wasn't until yesterday that my maniacal planning tendencies kicked in. I tend toward exhaustive, pages-long itineraries that cover every option and ticket price for anything you might find interesting in a specific city, complete with a to-the-minute train timetable. 

The plan for next month is that take the train from Paris to Digoin immediately after I arrive, and the next day I'll enjoy the delights of the Escargot Festival. Amanda gets in two days later, and we will go wine-tasting and gourmet dinner-eating to our hearts' delight. After four days and five nights of glorious Diggy, we will make our way to the Loire Valley region and all its pretty pretty princess chateaux, then Monet's gardens in Giverny, then Paris, then home. 

That's where I got stuck. There was not a good way to see everything sans voiture, and I was at my wits' end on how to squeeze in a trip to see troglodyte awesomeness in Saumur. I spent hours on the SNCF website testing the viability of various routes and home bases. This afternoon I finally settled upon the Most Perfect Itinerary. Feast your eyes, francophiles:


Chateau Royal d'Amboise
Chateau de Clos Luce (final home of Leonardo da Vinci)

Chateau de Chenonceau


Chateau de Saumur
Musée du Champignon
Troglodyte home