February 16th, 2007 – by: heckakim
Our group with our tour guide and driver.
This weekend I went to Tours France with some friends. We left on Friday. We took the 4 hour train ride to Paris. The car we were in was horrible because it was filled with 10-12 year olds. It was us one older couple and the rest was filled with little kids. I wanted to kill them all. They were so loud and obnoxious. They had about 3 adults with them. The person I really wanted to kill was whoever it was who gave them Red Bull. Those kids were already wound up. The person who gave them an energy drink deserved to die. Red Bull is actually illegal to purchase in France so we are not even sure where they got it.
I could only be happy when we arrived in Paris. We had to take the subway across town to another train station. The train we took from Paris to Tours was the TGV which is the high speed train. I was really excited to go on it. I had never been on a high speed train before. It was not all that exciting though. It did not feel like we were going super fast.
Chateau de Villandry
I went with 4 other girls. They had all planned the trip before I decided to come along. I was glad they had no problems letting me come, because I did not want to intrude on their trip.
They are all really nice. Jess was the only one I really knew. The only thing was that because they had planned the trip before they had already booked a hotel and so I was just going to get a single room in the hotel but it was completely booked. So I stayed in my own hotel, which I actually like better. It was only about a 5 minute walk from theirs anyway, so everything worked out. My room was cute though because the colors were fun red, orange and yellow and the rooms were not numbered, they had names. The whole theme of the hotel was music and dancing, so my room was the Fox Trot. I also had free wireless internet and they didn’t.
The gardens at Chateau de Villandry
After we had all checked into our rooms I went and met them in theirs. Apparently there is not a whole lot to do in Tours.
It is just a base for seeing all the chateaus. It was kind of early so we just went to the grocery store next door and got some small snacks and hung out in their room for a little while. Later we went to find a place to eat dinner. We wandered around the town for about 2 hours before we found a place to eat. The city is set up kind of weird. There is a ton of shopping, but there are no restaurants around the shopping areas. It took us forever to find the area that all the restaurants were. The ironic thing was that it turned out to be just down the street and around the corner from their hotel. We found a cute little family place where we had dinner.
The front of Azay-le-Rideau
After dinner they walked me back to my hotel and we hung out there for a little while looking on the internet and watching some TV.
Then they went back to their hotel room. We decided on an early night because we were taking a tour that left at 8am the next morning.
The back of Azay-le-Rideau
When we got up we went to McDonalds for breakfast. That was an experience because there were these 5 guys and 1 girl there who had obviously been out all night drinking and they were getting something to eat before they were going to bed. We were sitting down eating and the girl comes up to us (she was much more drunk then the guys. We think this was because she was trying to keep up with them). Anyway, she was trying to explain that there were 5 of us and 5 of them and that we should all get together. It was really funny because she was having a really hard time. The guys talked to us too. They wanted to know where we were from and what we were doing.
It was a very interesting way to start the day. The guys were practically carrying the girl out of there by the time they left. It was sad.
The front of Vallée Des Rois
The tour we took was really great. It was 2 mini vans. The driver of the first spoke English and so the tour was done in English. The second driver only spoke French. We were with the French one. The first driver spoke into a microphone that was like a walkie talkie and projected into our car. He actually told us that our driver knew a bit more than he did and since we could speak some French we could ask our driver anything.
We went into 4 chateaus and drove by many others.
It was a full day of touring. The fist one was called Villandry. It is known for its amazing gardens. We did not get to tour the inside of the chateau because the owners actually live in there. But we got to tour the gardens. It was a kind of bad time for us to go because nothing was in bloom. However it was still very impressive. We walked around the gardens for a while and took many pictures and then moved on to the next chateau. This on is called Azay-le-Rideau. It was beautiful. It is actually built in the middle of this huge pond. We got to go inside this one. It is absolutely impressive. I would love to live in something like this, but then I have to keep reminding myself that there is no electricity and no indoor plumbing and it would probably suck to live there. I would take the outside and the size, and then make the inside more to my liking. That is what I am going to do with my future home.
The side view of Vallée Des Rois
After this one we went back into Tours for lunch.
We had 45 minutes for lunch, which in France is a very short amount of time. We found one of those Chinese type places where everything is already made. It was really good. We sat down at this little table and ate. I loved the food, it was just so good. I miss Chinese food.
The chateau where King Louis XIV lived. Chambord
After lunch it was back into the car for the rest of the tour. On this stretch of road there were a bunch of amazing houses and so they would stop every now and then for us to get a good look at them. The next chateau we saw was Vallée Des Rois. This one was really neat. It is built all the way across a river. I can’t even describe it. At one end it is like a normal chateau with beautiful rooms, then there is a long, huge hallway type room that spans the width of the river.
On the other side there used to be another part identical to the first but it was destroyed during World War I. The hallway has two stories and both were used as a hospital during the war. This chateau also has beautiful gardens.
The view of the lawns from the top of Chambord
The last chateau was my favorite. I think it was everyone’s favorite. It is called Chambord. This chateau was actually used by Fredric I, and King Louis XIV. It was the most amazing. There are many towers and the grand staircase is a double-helix. I can’t explain any of these chateaus very well. They are just too amazing. You can look them up on the internet, or eventually I will send you my pictures.
When we got back to Tours we decided to rest for a while. We shared a bottle of wine up in their hotel room and then later we went to this Italian place for dinner. It was not very good. We all liked the look of this restaurant and were very disappointed in it. The food was not very good and the service was horrible even by French standards. After dinner we went next door to a bar called “The Pail.” It was really great. I want to go back to that bar. Everyone was so nice and the drinks were delicious. I did not drink a lot. The one I did have was amazing. It was called a “Pink Panther.” It had Gin, Vodka and something else with orange and pineapple juice. It was amazing. The best drink I have ever had. The one other thing I had was a shot. It was crème de menth and Balies Irish cream. It tasted exactly like mint chocolate chip ice cream. It was amazing. We were all back in our hotel rooms by 12am. It had been a really long day but we had so much fun. I loved this tour. I am so glad that I came.