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Sunday, June 28, 2020

Anyone for Billiards in the French countryside

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. Dear Gina - you have whet my appetite for a trip back over to France, it feels so near, but yet currently so far at this awful moment in time. Travel restrictions to Europe are in the process of being lifted at the moment, and younger people are busily booking up ferries and flights, but I have no confidence in travelling too far from home at the moment. France has always been a favourite of ours, and especially so as my eldest son and family lived in Paris for such a long time - will we ever return? yes, I am confident that one day we will.

    1. Dear Rosemary,
      I can't even think about not being able to travel again...travel anywhere. It has always been the reward we would give ourselves for working so hard for the rest of the year. You have such a great advantage in that you don't have to put up with such a long travel time. Flying is getting to be more and more difficult. But I am hopeful that we can once again make travelling plans.

  2. Gina, I see you are going back in time (as am I) and looking at photos from older trips to Europe! I am spending aa lot of time reliving some of my French trips, especially to my brother's area (Languedoc - their tiny village has no COVID-19!) which I know is now beautiful in early summertime with the grapes growing. Then there's Provençe with the lavender fields blooming, and the acres of sunflower fields as far as the eye can see.
    Some day we will all be traveling again I'm certain - meanwhile it's back to the garden today. The baby bunny was outside the front door again nibbling on grass (which is OK), and the first morning glory has opened in all it's deep purple majesty!
    Sunny and hot today - we grilled a lot of veggies last evening along with veggie burgers so today we'll eat them in a salad - no big kitchen duties for a change!

    Love and hugs - Mary

  3. Dear Mary,
    I always look forward to your posts...new or old. I especially like your travel posts. You have visited so many interesting and unusual parts of the world.
    Can't wait to see the results of your new garden architects.