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Sunday, 20 April 2014

CHATEAUX OF THE LOIRE 1

 
A couple of weeks ago we decided to take a week's break in the Loire valley.  The weather forecast was good and we wanted to use the camper car, having not been able to use it for the last nine months due to other commitments and having to wait 6 months for the French beaurocracy to supply our new driving licences.  We set off with a few ideas in mind, but as we neared the motorway turning for Saumur I found a previously undiscovered campsite there in my camping guidebook so we turned off and found ourselves in a haven of peace on an island in the river.
 
 
The camp was not very busy and we chose a pitch not too far from the facilities with plenty of space around us.  The grass had not been cut recently and was filled with daisies in full flower as were the flowering shrubs that divided the spaces between the pitches.  We even had a rabbit hole next to us although we didn't see any rabbits during the day.  We were however entertained by the antics of a pair of courting pigeons and woken up early every morning by their calls.
 
 
As the sun went down and we took our aperitifs we watched the birds settling in the branches of the trees nearby.  We were so lucky with the weather, having sunshine every day although the nights were very cold.  I made the mistake of bringing the same duvets that we had been using at home: a winter one for Bob and a summer one for me as I hate getting too hot at night.  The temperature dropped to about 6°C inside the camper overnight and I shivered so Bob had the job of warming me up every morning while we waited for the heating to take effect! 
 
 
This is the view from our pitch through the trees towards the other bank of the river Loire.  It is a church just along the bank from the chateau, lit by the late afternoon sun with the river flowing peacefully out of sight between it and the trees of the camp.
 
 
We have visited Saumur several times over the last 35 years and I've made several attempts at drawing it.  This is the best, copied from a photo for Bob's 60th birthdy in 2006.  The one at the top of the post was drawn from life and added to later with ink and waterbrush.  It's a very elaborate chateau with all those pointy turrets and quite hard to get the perspective correct.  We stayed here for 3 days before setting off to our next stop at Chinon.