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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Billiards anyone?

Playing Billiards at Chateau d' Azay-le-Rideau
Not too large, you will feel right at home. 
engraving N. Arnoult, 17th c.

Games of this type were the principal amusement of the nobility in the 17th century.
The Chateau is a small gem situated in the heart of Tourainne, in the Loire Valley, south and west of Paris. 

If in the past you have shied away from the Chateau region, overrun by tourists, then visit Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau for a refreshing experience.
It is filled with beautiful artifacts.  It is a magical place. 
Counsellor, Notary and Secretary to King Louis XII, Gilles Berthelot, an astute Financier, purchased the old fortress in 1510. 

The Chateau was embellished by succeeding generations. It is a small gem of the French Renaissance. 

Arrive at the Chateau in the morning so that you can take  time for a leisurely lunch at the Etape Gourmande at Domaine de la Giraudiere, a fine rustic farmhouse restaurant. Located between Villandry and Druye (closed November through March).

Charming owner Beatrice provides an excellent,  if limited,  menu of fine country cuisine.

It's a little difficult to find (just follow your GPS) but so worth it.

A very healthy and handsome fig tree was right on our way to the car.  It was late September, the figs were not yet ripe. 
We had to try just one.

  Not far from the Chateau, in the lovely village of Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud, the charming restaurant-hotel is the perfect home base for the western Loire Valley.  Hotel la Croix Blanche faces the Abbey Fontevraud, another fascinating place to visit. 

Happy Sunday to you my dear
Blogging Friends.



  1. A most beautiful part of France Gina.
    I was in that area many years ago with my daughter , now living in Switzerland. We stopped at little places here and there. Its amazing how many beautiful Chateau's are hidden or tucked away.
    lovely photos.
    Interesting to see the images of the lady playing snooker..but similar to croquet.

  2. What can I say, Gina? It all looks fantastic! Wonderful village, beautiful Chateau and... that little restaurant! I wish it were mine! It's so cosy, feminine and filled with with lots of little things I would like to have in the kitchen of our new house in Italy! I must have a blackboard on the wall!

    The Chateau is beautiful. The first picture I love and the one of the aristocrats playing billiards in their big wigs... they look very nice, but... in those days the aristocrats weren't familiar with soap and water (they didn't wash!) so they covered their bodies and wigs with talcum powder. It is said that they used generous amounts of perfume of perfumes to cover up the... smell!

    It was an interesting post, Gina! Thank you very much!



  3. Hello Gina

    What a beautiful place
    it looks like a wonderland.

    Thanks for posting your lovely photos


  4. Dear Gina - The Loire Valley is always a joy to visit, there are so many beautiful and interesting places to visit. I am sure you must have visited Château de Villandry with its fabulous gardens?
    It looks as if you left behind one of your lovely pots!!!

  5. Dear Val, When we travel we love to visit the out-of-the-way places. The Dordogne and Perigeux regions are perfect for doing just that.

  6. Dear Anna, Interestingly, the white stuff with which they powdered their wigs was the secret ingredient Europeans were looking for to copy Chinese white porcelain. The secret (for 800 years) ingredient is called Kaolin (Feldspar).

  7. Hello Fiona, Thank you for your comment. So glad that you like my photos. The French countryside is full of special places and experiences.

  8. Dear Rosemary, We did not visit Villandry...saving it for another time...when the gardens are in full bloom.

  9. Dear Gina - I find the third image most arresting. I like the contrast of those red window frames with the grey walls - makes the whole place pop!

  10. Gina, thank you for these lovely images. They are wonderful to see today while we New Yorkers are cooped up inside awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. The wind is really beginning to pick up and the city is very, very quiet.


  11. Dear Mark, The windows look ready for gold leaf application. One of our blogging friends posted a renovation, in England I think, which did exactly that.

  12. Dear Frances, the news is not good. Please be safe.
    I have wanted to share a special crochet stitch with you. Have you tried the "little mouse" stitch. It's single crochet backwards. Makes perfect edging.

  13. Dear Gina,
    Thank you for this wonderful post-- it brought back such happy memories of exploring the Loire with my new husband 22(!) years ago. Since then, we've visited a few more times, but that first summer-long trip remains the most special. Azay-le-Rideau is so perfectly proportioned... as you said, a gem!
    Thank you & warm regards,

  14. It is so good to be back catching up with your posts, something of interest in them all as always. :)

  15. Dear Parvum Opum, how wonderful that you and your husband had that very special trip to the Loir Valley. Wishing you many more.

  16. Dear LindyLou, Thank you for your support. I am so delighted that you like to come for a visit. It is so appreciated.