Last weekend we headed up to the Loire Valley, south of Paris in France. From Nyon this is quite a long trip and we only arrived in Orleans in the evening.
Chambord, which is a dangerous way to start a weekend of castle-watching because it may well be the most impressive of the whole area. In fact it did not start life as a castle but was actually built as a hunting lodge. The castle is surrounded by forest that was bright green at this time of year.
Blois, which is a town with another impressive castle, although this one is built in the town and evolved over many centuries making it an architectural mixed bag.
Chaumont, with a fairytale castle and some pretty gardens that looked over the Loire valley.
Then we moved on to Chenonceau, an amazing castle built out over the river and surrounded by forest. We had lunch there and took an audio tour, learning the interesting history of the castle and the people who lived within it.
Tours, one of the major cities of the region, which has a well preserved old town where we had dinner at a creperie in the main square - finishing with sweet crepes served with Chantilly cream.
Sully-sur-Loire, which we'd saved for the last day because it was roughly on the way home, and found we were really lucky with our timing because there was also a medieval faire being held.