Castles in Loire Valley

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Château de Chenonceau

For Easter weekend I traded noisy Paris for the quaint and quiet French countryside of Le Val de Loire. This area is known for its many castles, among the most beautiful are Château de Chenonceau, Château de Chambord and Château de Blois.

 

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It was special to see the lovely Château Chenonceau, which I had dreamt of visiting ever since I saw a picture of it in my grandfather’s French book years ago. Though it resembles a princess castle, it didnt’t belong to royalty! The couple who built it were bankers.

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Magnolia tree in Château de Blois

 

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Château de Chambord

 

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I stayed not in a castle, but a bed & breakfast in the middle of a forest without Wi-Fi. The next morning I woke up to croissants, granola and hot milk overlooking the woods of which I have no decent photos except of this souvenir. It is lovely to detach from social media and get away for the weekend!

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Café de Flore

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Breakfast of croissants and a warm cup of coffee at Café de Flore, this is how to spend the morning when in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Sitting on these wooden chairs, reading a book in the morning light, projects a peaceful aura among the raucous of incoming tourists. There’s a chirping going on from the right corner of the restaurant – a parakeet. The waiters of this historic place – once the hangout of philosophers like Sartre – actually allowed an old man to bring in his parakeet and it’s perched on his shoulder singing to the content of a toddler in the table next to it.

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The Rive Gauche is known for being more laid back, and I assume the more eccentric folk linger here. It’s got none of the hectic stress of the East of Paris, and that’s why it’s perfectly fine for a bird to be in the restaurant. I don’t mind even if the coffee is expensive, and it’s swarmed by tourists. Café de Flore takes you back to the old Paris – rich with the charm of the past.

Find it: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris