Subject: Re: Chateaux
Hi Janet,

I agree that the gardens of Villandry are marvellous. I also liked Chenonceau with its famous bridge over the river.

We used a shuttle service when we daytripped from Paris. There were others using the service who were staying overnight locally. Each day a different itinerary is offered and half-days are possible. We were driven to a chateau, shepherded through the cash to get group discount and then left to visit ourselves for the designated time. Very easy, very time efficient.

There are several companies that offer the service. We used Acco-Dispo and found the friendly personable service great.

This is a link to four companies:

>From our travelogue:

Azay Le Rideau

Our first destination was a very romantic building with fairy-tale turrets. The inside was fairly small but interesting with state and private apartments and then some 19th century rooms (kitchen, billiard room, etc.). It repaid walking in the grounds - lovely reflections of the chateau in the moat.


We walked up to the belvedere as suggested by Pascal and at the overlook, the gardens spread below took our breath away. Absolutely stunning. The amazing patterns of low hedges and plants, the SIZE of the gardens! Then when we walked down to look more closely, we could see that the red leaves were of lettuces and the ferny leaves were carrots.... We had been told on the drive about the vegetables but we thought that Pascal had mistranslated a word! But no, it was a beautifully laid out vegetable and herbal garden with rose arbours There is a reflecting pond which wasn't working - too much wind and too much rain but that didn't seem to bother the swans. But the gardens were quiet apart from our constant companions yesterday, school groups! If you have been to Villandry, you will know better than I can say how amazing it is. If you haven't, take the opportunity one day and see for yourself!

We had a quick lunch in Tours and then joined the regrouped tour (some were taking half days only) for a drive to Chenonceau.

Chenonceau is one of those places you know - very familiar from photos, from television programs about history or architecture so it was a thrill to actually see it. They are in the process of cleaning the front so when you go, it will look even better! Chononceau is much more isolated than the other houses we saw but as with Azay, strongly connected with women. As at Azay also, there is not a lot of furniture but it is choice. My favourite part was the long gallery over the river Cher, with its chalk and slate tiled floor and big windows overlooking the river. The room is full of light, even on a rainy day and has such history. The bridge was built by Diane de Poitiers and the gallery was build on it by Catherine de Medici. The two gardens give good views of the gallery and its famous arching supports.

Frances Toronto, Canada