Day trip to Chateau de Villandry

Villandry Travel Blog

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Vegetable gardens in Chateau de Villandry

Slept pretty well considering it was the first night, I woke up for a few hours in between but overall felt relaxed and recharged for a Sunday morning. I finally woke up around 7am and headed for b'fast. I'm so used to travelling around in the UK that I kind of expect things to be open all the time, so I was in for a rude shock when I found everything closed. Everything. Even coffee shops. Everything. That was when it struck me that I'm in France, and people like to take it easy on weekends, damn the travellers and their needs! I did find one place where they were getting b'fast ready, and walked in. The man told me that b'fast would cost about 5€ and I gladly went in, but boy it was a rip-off. All I got was a croissant, a cup of tea and hard bread with butter. But then, I remembered French lesson 101, they don't call it "petit dejeuner" for nothing!

Anyway, b'fast done, the idea was to rent bikes (with my mate who lives in California), and bike to Villandry.

But again, it was a Sunday which meant that the biking rental (Location de Velo) would be closed for the most part of the day, and we didn't want to risk it seeing as I was headed out on the Chateau tour the next day and perhaps wouldn't be able to return it on time and incur costs...?? I had plans of visiting either Blois or Saumur as well, and those places are not bike-able, hence wasn't too fussed on the idea of renting a bike. Hmm.... not to mention that day 2, and I was already starting to get a bit fed up of the weather. It was a bit too sunny and hot for my liking. 

The problem about holidaying in non-big cities is that transport, whilst there, is still very infrequent. Not to mention that not all places are connected by public transport, and this being a Sunday... oh well! I had to fork out the dosh and eventually take a cab to Chateau de Villandry.

It cost us a total of 44€ which, in hindsight was a waste but given the time savings, does seem worth it. Plus, as mentioned in the previous entry, the Loire Valley had just gotten off its worst drought and I would've yawned my way through that bike ride and sweat to the last sweat drop of my body in that heat. The taxi ride by itself was ok, nothing spectacular really. The cab driver and I had a good chinwag in French, he was curious about life in Dallas, etc.

We reached Villandry around 11am. We bought our tickets and made our way into the chateau. First thought (good) - "it's huge!!". First thought (bad) - "is that it??!". Next to Versailles, this is one of the most visited chateaus in France.

I knew what to expect, but as they say, seeing it in pictures and in real life are 2 totally different experiences.

The chateau was built 16th century style, and even today contains miles worth of boxwood sculpture, with gardens in "boxes". Each square/box of the gardens represent various faces of love, and are designed in a mosaic form.  I was very impressed with this - the choice of designs, the choice of colours, and the most amusing was the fact that in one of these mosaics, they actually grow French vegetables (except the potato) which to me was a brilliant idea - beauty and a purpose! I don't know the last time I took so many panoramic photos in one area, but the garden just goes on and on, it's in about 3 levels complete with a lovely promenade, and one area of water gardens with a body shaped like a mirror.

I spent about 1.5 hrs in the garden area itself, before wandering into the Chateau.

This being my first chateau, I obviously liked it. But I can tell you in hindsight that it does get boring after a while as the interiors are more or less the same. Infact, my advice to chateau goers would be - hit the gardens first because that's where the beauty and the difference is at,  and then go indoors to see the same bloody armoire, the elaborate dining room or the garrish bedrooms with blankets and bedsheets all draped in gold. Not much to be said about the interiors, but for the first chateau of the trip, it was worth it.

I finished by about 2pm, had some crepes being sold outside whilst the Shop called for a taxi for us to head back to Tours. It was really hot. I hate it when it's too hot, kind of annoying walking around in the heat and sunshine. Anyway the taxi arrived, the return trip took about 20 min and we were in the Gare of Tours ready for the next spot of the day - Saumur.

YantiSoeparno says:
Le petit dejeuner etait trop petit pour toi ;D

So, next time we go to France, we have to remember not to do it during weekends :P

You don't like heat and sunshine? Oh... too bad :-( so you will not like Indonesia :-(
Posted on: Sep 15, 2009
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Vegetable gardens in Chateau de Vi…
Vegetable gardens in Chateau de V…
The mirror as its called - the …
The "mirror" as it's called - the…
Yes, all those are vegetables!
Yes, all those are vegetables!
The dining table, I just had to ta…
The dining table, I just had to t…
Very colourful ceiling
Very colourful ceiling
Entrance to the chateau
Entrance to the chateau
photo by: Vikram