Thursday, April 12, 2012

Les Chateaux: Cheverny et Chenonceau

And the last full day with my old host family is over. What a great day it was!
We left Le Mans this morning in the direction of the Chateau de Cheverny, one of my favourites from last time. It was a gorgeous sunny day with just a few clouds. On the way, we stopped to take a quick picture in front of the Chateau d'Amboise, where I stayed near last time.
 We got to Cheverny around noon so we had a picnic lunch in the grounds. Afterwards, we saw the castle! It was even better than last time I saw it because I was allowed to take photos inside. The interior is extremely well furnished, well preserved, and very beautiful. Plus, I didn't know this, but the current owners actually still live in the upstairs appartments! Crazy. I guess the castle has been in their family for a long time so it just keeps getting passed down. Imagine, living in a castle!
Parents and castle
A lot of prestigious hunting goes on in the area too, that is to say more traditional hunting... huntings dogs, horses, the whole nine yards! As such, they house about 90 hunting hounds at this castle. My Dad has decided that he wants to bring one home to replace poor Shadow (NOT). Shadow 2.0?
He loves them.
After Cheverny, we were on the road again headed to Chenonceaux. It is another very beautiful castle, spanning the Cher river. There were even some brave canoers on the water, though they were horrible at steering. The castle is beautiful, but it also has gardens, and old farm village, a maze, and beautiful forests.
Mom and Dad at Chenonceaux

Tulip garden
After seeing the castle, we were all quite exhausted so we headed to our accomodation for the night. Benoit found the place, called a Chambre d'Hotes. It is like a B&B, except better! It is in a really quaint little house in a town just beside Chenonceaux, and each family has their own room. Our room has a little loft bedroom where I am. My Mom thinks I am going to sleepwalk and fall down the steep stairs. I won't.
We all ate dinner together, the Ammeux family, mine, and another French family from Toulouse. The meal was superb. All the food was regional, and a lot made right here at this B&B. We started with an aperatif of pork paté on toast and a delicious drink that was a mixture of an alchol made from some spiky plant and rose wine. Then we had white wine with an excellent salad of eggs, pork, lettuce, croutons, and tomatoes.Then we had red wine with an incredible main course: wild boar (shot by the owner), potatoes, and chestnuts. I was in food heaven. Then we had a cheese course of two different kinds of goat cheese and one cow cheese. After, we had dessert which was a chocolate and pear muffin with caramel drizzled on top, and tea to finish. I was, and AM, so full! It was such an incredible meal. I will probably have to be rolled off my plane into Canada.
The dining room. Cut out of the picture is a wild boar's head over the fireplace (not the one we ate though!)
The day was amazing. One thing both my parents and I have really enjoyed has been the chance to travel and live with a French family. It really makes a difference when you don't have to do as many touristy things, but rather you can learn more about the culture and the everyday life of the French. We are so grateful to have had this opportunity. They also visited us in Canada in the summer of 2008. When Camille and I signed up for our exchange, I don't think either of us knew how great the exchange experience would be and how rewarding it would continue to be. We now have really great friends from another country that we will surely keep contact with. We are very blessed.
Tomorrow: NANTES!

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