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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

CHATEAUX OF THE LOIRE 3

 
The last stop on our short trip to the Loire valley was at Amboise. We came here before in 2010 and loved the town so much we've been looking forward to returning ever since. The royal chateau is perched on a cliff overlooking the river above a line of elegant buildings housing restaurants and hotels.
On our previous visit we visited the other chateau here, Clos LucĂ©, which was the home of Leonardo da Vinci for the last 3 years of his life.  I recommend anyone who loves his work as an inventer to come and see the place, it's filled with replicas of his inventions, life sized as well as scale models, all of which are able to work as he intended.  It's fascinating also to see the gardens where he strolled and the rooms he lived in.
This drawing of the chateau was done from a photo after our return in 2010 as it's a very complicated building and this time I didn't really have time to sit on the riverbank as it would have taken ages to get it right!
 
 
We were allocated a nice sunny pitch on the site which is rather like a park with the trees spaced out to give shade to the campers in the heat of summer.  At this time of year we were glad to be in the sun as it was quite chilly in the shade.
 
 
Having been to Amboise before we were very relaxed about sightseeing and didn't wear ourselves out trying to see it all again! We found a lovely restaurant on a first floor above the shops just away from the busy tourist centre of town for a tasty lunch and were well entertained by the charming proprietress. The decor was typical Italian with the ochre colours and a quirky touch of a line of washing hanging above our heads! 
 
 
We try to purchase the local produce while in an area and this is one of our favourite cheeses, bought only a few miles from where it was made and we really could taste the difference.  Of course we went home with a large supply of the other local speciality from our favourite vineyard!
 
 
Before our lunch we sat in the sun just next to the steps to the chateau to soak up some atmosphere and to do a little sketching.  The buildings are quite varied with very old timbered ones mixed with later stone and rendered ones.
 
 
This last sketch is one I did in 2010 of the line of trees we sat underneath to draw the sketch of the buildings on the other side of the street.
 In all we had a lovely relaxing holiday revisiting a few of our favourite places, it was so nice to just be able to pack up the camper and go after seeing a favourable weather forecast.