Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chateaux Hopping

Because the day was so beautiful and because we could, we diverted from our schedule and explored the town of Honfleur instead of driving to see Mont St. Michel. We stumbled on an inviting B & B for breakfast, (croissant, yogurt, pastry, tea/coffee is typical)  and sampled the local specialties of Cider, Cambert Cheese and Crouques Madame on the pier for lunch. We did throw in a couple of brisk walks and washed a load of laundry with the adorable laundry dog that resembled a mop, for good measure. 

Our next stop was the Loire valley to explore the town of Amboise where Leonardo de Vinci spent his last three years and to explore the beautiful Chateaux Chenonceaux a few miles down the road. At that time, the French royalty were awash with money and a Chateaux with a Loire valley address was a must. King Franciose of Chateaux Chenonceaux actually had bed chambers built for his favorite mistress Lady Dianne along with bed chambers for his actual wife, Lady Catherine.  Lady Dianne had not only King Franciose's affections but the run of the castle until he died suddenly.  Lady Catherine wasted no time kicking the mistress to the curb and out of the Chateaux.  King Louis XIV came to visit the Chateaux and brought a huge portrait of himself as a gift for the castle. This was apparently an honor and not considered presumptive. In the meantime, all this is strikingly similar to the episodes of Scandal that we are watching on my laptop every evening!

I found Leonardo's Chateaux much more wholesome as it focused on his many inventions that were centuries ahead of their time. I have to believe that the lack of television and the internet gave people time to cultivate the arts and even invent things if you happen to be a genius, among other things. I'm sure there's a down side to living in this era, but they are not highlighted. 

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