After our Amsterdam adventure, Mom and Dad had a few days to discover Brussels with me. It was a nice change since they missed out on seeing the sights the last time they visited us in Everberg. They were able to explore the beautiful Art Nouveau architecture in my neighbourhood, visit Grand Place, eat real Belgian waffles, and see some of my favourite places.
After two days of sightseeing and packing, we threw them in the back of the Prius for our European Adventure. This was the ultimate test for our new car and I’m happy to say she passed with flying colours. (Although I’m sure Mom and Dad were more than happy to say good-bye to her, and all of the driving, when they left).
Our first stop was in the Loire Valley of France. Andrew and I had previously tried to visit the area, back when Orange became sick. Fortunately this time everyone remained healthy. We could only budget our time for a one night stay in Tours, which meant we could only visit two of the literally hundreds of castles and Chateaus in the area.
After checking in to our hotel in Tours, on the first afternoon, we went to visit The Chateau Villandry. This castle was on my short list because it is said to have the largest formal gardens of any of the Chateaus. I was certainly not disappointed.
The Chateau is built on the grounds of a former fortress in the 1500s. During the French Revolution the property was confiscated and in the early 1800’s Emperor Napoleon acquired it
for his brother Joseph Bonaparte.
In 1906, Dr. Joachim Carvallo bought the Chateau and spent an enormous amount of time and money to restore it and the gardens to their former splendour. It is still owned by the Carvallo family, although it is open to the public, and in 1934 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Words cannot do justice to the beauty of the formal gardens… so I’ll leave you with a small sample of the photos I took there. Watch the Photoblog for more over the coming days.
Love castles, palaces, and ruins like in this article? Us too! Don’t miss the full listing of Castles we’ve visited in Europe and beyond.