Summer                   2017
VOL. 21                   NO.  3

 

FRANCE On Your Own banner
                                                                                                                           
  The Independent Traveler's Newsletter




IN THIS ISSUE: 



Châteaux - Treasures of the Loire
  ~ in France's Valley of the Kings

  

          Twisted Tongues
             ~  Challenging French phrases 
 
 
Ici et Là



"Little Pompeii" Discovery by the Rhône
  


          Actors at Le Parc Mini-Châteaux.  Courtesy of parc web site

 Renaissance performers at
Le Parc Mini-Châteaux in Amboise



The Bookshelf: A Taste of Paris
    A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food
         by David Downie


In our next issue:

Little Gems off the Beaten Path

and more!

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                                                                                       " I was chased through a château in the Loire Valley by a bunch of American school girls."                           
                                                     
-  David Hyde Pierce, American Actor


CHÂTEAUX - TREASURES OF THE LOIRE . . . in France's Valley of the Kings

Many visitors to France focus on Paris, venture out to Normandy to see the historic sites, go east to Burgundy for the wine and cuisine, and yet others go south to Provence for the sun and Mediterranean climate.  There are those, of course, whose curiosity takes them to the Loire Valley to tour the grand and royal châteaus ~ perhaps visiting one or two in a day, a maybe a third the next day.  The visits can be tiring, much like a whole day at the Louvre.  They may never return to the Loire again, believing that if they've seen a château or two, they've seen them all.  We will attempt to disabuse those people of that belief as we devote this issue to the grand châteaus of the Loire ~ and illustrate that whether a château is family-owned in the countryside or a grand open-to-the-public royal palace in the Loire (there are about fifty of the latter), each is unique and special, most likely with a fascinating history and worth your attention.

People traveling through France following a planned itinerary often wish they had done a little more research on places they were going to visit.  Recently, we read the comment of a writer who promised himself to thoroughly research the places he was hoping to see before leaving home, but he didn't always manage to keep his own resolution.  Once in France he was often disappointed he didn't know more about the sites along the way.  We suggest that you take his advice to get the most out of your travel experience in France.  Perhaps our feature highlighting several of the Loire châteaus will be just what you need to make your visits enjoyable and enlightening.

France's
buildings are constructed of the materials locally available:  the granite of Brittany, the slate roofs of the north, the red tile roofs in the south.  The Loire Valley is the home of tuffeau, the soft cream-colored stone that can be found everywhere.  Perhaps you have seen the troglodyte dwellings carved into hillsides along the river banks.  During the Mesozoic era some 90 million years ago, the Loire was the ocean floor and sediment ~ including fossilized living organisms, sand and shells deposited in the shallow water ~ was compressed to form tuffeau stone.  Thus, the great châteaus were constructed of this beautiful stone which was locally quarried, easy to work with and resulted in magnificent, timeless monuments.


Several years ago a good friend of ours in France took us to Amboise to visit Le Parc Mini-Châteaux
.  Forty-one of the Loire châteaus can be see here in exact miniature, re-created to the last detail.  Although children are naturally fascinated by the parc, adults enjoy a birds-eye view of these magnificent castles ~ a good way to preview those that are most appealing before visiting the actual châteaus.   For the exact address of the Parc, the hours it is open and entrance fee, along with lots of photos, visit their web site.

Château d'Amboise in minature.  Courtesy Le Parc Mini-Châteaux web site


We
have visited many of the Loire châteaus, some more than once, so in this issue we will introduce you (or re-introduce you, if you have seen them before) to some of our favorites as well as explore several that may not be as well known to visitors.

You may choose to stay in the Western Loire where you will have easy access to the châteaus in Nantes, Angers, Les Réaux (currently a B&B and not open to the public), Ussé, Langeais, all of which are located along or very near the Loire River.  As you travel eastward, the rivers Vienne, Indre and Cher split off to the south, and it is on these rivers you will discover Azay-le-Rideau, Villandry, Loches, Chenonceau, Selles-sur-Cher and others. 

If you prefer to stay in the Eastern Loire near the Sologne, the châteaus of Amboise, Chaumont, Blois, Cheverny, Chambord and Beaugency are among the many located there, some along smaller rivers such as the Cosson and Beuvron.  At the end of this article, we will suggest places to stay ~ privately-owned châteaus each offering incredible experiences for guests.                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                     Château d'Amboise in miniature at
                                                                                                                                      Le Parc Mini-Châteaux in Amboise.

No matter which you choose to explore, you will be impressed by how each is different from the other, how their histories and the famous people associated with them add a personal perspective to each, and how proudly they represent the devotion France and the French have to their unique historic legacy.                          continued on page 3                                                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                                                              
   


LOOK INSIDE    
. .
  with a click  


>  and perhaps find an event or activity that interests you in the US or France in our Ici et Là column ~ and be sure to see our newest Ici et Là feature:  Did You Know? 

~

The Bookshelf:  our review of David Downie's most recent book, A Taste of Paris.  We have reviewed other of David's books on Paris, each bringing his incredible knowledge of his adopted city and giving the reader David's refreshing and insightful perspective.

~

>  to learn a little about the recent archaeological discovery along the Rhône near Vienne ~ along with a personal anecdote from a time when we stayed very near this discovery.
~





FRANCE On Your Own is always happy
 to receive articles from our readers
about their experiences in France.  We
can't guarantee when we will publish
 those we receive, but we will do our best to
 
include them for our other readers to enjoy.
[No payments are made for submissions used,  but
 we will promote your France-related book or project.]






TWISTED TONGUES . . .
                                                                                                                                                             contributed by Arthur Gillette

Welcome to Twisted Tongues, a French word game everyone can play.  Can you come up with the correct translation of the phrase in question?  You'll be surprised by how it differs from what you first thought it meant.

Answer from our Spring issue:   "Tirer ses grègues"   Does that mean "to pull up one's socks"?  Literally, yes, but the slang meaning is "Skidaddle away." 

Phrase:  "Faire gaffe"  may mean to "make a mistake".  But what do you think the slang meaning is?



Look for the correct translation in our Autumn 2017 newsletter.  Have fun!

 We will continue to include Arthur Gillette's "Twisted Tongues" in our newsletter
until we exhaust the selection he kindly provided.  We hope you enjoy them as much as he
enjoyed the French language.  We are sure he would want us to continue the game . . .




                                                                                                               SPONSORING THIS ISSUE                                                                                                                      

Château de la Caillotière

Château de la Caillotière

The Château de la Caillotière is a jewel of 19th century architecture having been built over 200 years ago
 by the French Ambassador de Vernouillet, an ancestor of the present owner.  Six elegant bedrooms can
accommodate up to 13 people for self-catering weekly rentals between May and October.  Enjoy the
swimming pool, play tennis or take riding lessons on the resident horse or pony.  You can even fish in the lake.

Click here or  on the photo for more information and reservations.

                                                                                                                                                                                         next page page 2
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