Saturday, May 16, 2009

Europe 2009: Saturday, May 16th, Chenonceaux

We were checking out the next day and had one night to fill before our reservations in Paris. I am a copious advance planner, but we had deliberately left this one day open for a last minute decision. We wanted something to break up the long drive to Paris. We decided we were in the mood for a castle and started researching on the computer which castles were on our way to Paris. We finally decided on Chenonceaux and started looking for accomodations in the area. We found the most picturesque and delightful inn, called Le Bon Laboureur, which was a ten minute walk from the castle. It even had a one Michelin star restaurant on the premises. Luckily they took American Express, which was the one credit card we had left that had not been stolen. It was in my husbands name only and I didn't have to cancel that one.

We drove about three and a half hours to get there. The Loire Valley enchanted us. Every turn in the road produced picture worthy vistas. Le Bon Laboureur did not disappoint. The service was impeccable the premises were charming. That evening we dined in the restaurant. Our second best dining experience of the trip. They two different prix fixe menus. We chose the cheaper of the two: 48Euros for four courses (which was really 6 courses, including the amuse bouche and palate cleanser). Each dish as it came was perfect and sublime. It was the perfect antidote to our horrible experience of the last few days. As my girlfriend said: "We suffer well."

The next morning we walked over to Chenonceaux. They did't take American Express. (This was a foreshadowing of the problem we were to encounter in the next days. Very few places accepted American Express.) We needed to conserve the few euros we had left for tolls and incidentals in the next days. But we just couldn't leave without seeing the castle, so we paid the 10 euros each in cash. What a gorgeous place it was! I couldn't stop taking photos. The fresh flower arrangements in each of the rooms were breathtaking. It made me want to do a castle tour of France.

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