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château_d'ussé_loire_valley-biking_France.jpgJust a quick post tonight as I am trying not to spend all these lovely evenings blogging. We had a more sensible biking day today: only 45 km. We biked from Azay-le-Rideau to Chinon, with a 2-hours stopover at Château d’Ussé. This truly fairytale château, standing tall above the landscape of the Loire Valley is said to have inspired Charles Perrault to write Sleeping Beauty. (At the vey least it must have inspired Walt Disney to build the princess a castle in California.) IMG_1715 The château is simply stunning, especially arriving by bike, just like it must have been for Prince Charmant arriving on horseback to save his beauty after a century of sleep. At the risk of using one too many superlatives, the castle is spectacular. The grounds and gardens are well kept, the chapel and its history spellbinding, and the caves and attics intriguing.

Sleeping Beauty's Tower

Sleeping Beauty’s Tower

However the way the rooms are staged is just a bit too cheesy, and oh, so French. I counted more than 40 mannequins, and I don’t mean the French kind that stroll down the haute couture runways. I’m talking old-time mannequins decked out in their finery, a few sultry glances and a few too many crazy grins. But in that French-way, it somehow manages to be just a little bit charming, and perfect for the under-10 set who are still hoping to grow up and be a princess.

chateau_ussé_mannequins_sleeping_beauty_france.jpg From Ussé we rode our final 22 km to Chinon and her fortress, which apparently was also an inspiration for some very fine writers; maybe you’ve heard of them: Monty Python? Chinon_fortress_chateau_France_loire_biking.jpg And now after a few too many wine dégustations, I’m sitting on my balcony watching the Vienne River settle as the frogs croak and riot and one discrete beaver surveys the bank. dégustation_wine_tasting_loire_valley_france_biking.jpg

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Melinda Lusmore #

    Bon Appétit Nancy!

    I love those last two mannequins! Were they the gardeners or what was their role? Classic cheesy French props, as you say.

    Am adding Ussé to my list of must-see châteaux – just gorgeous!

    June 25, 2015
    • Yes. The last two were farm folk working in the caves. So silly! I’m very glad we made the stop yesterday. It has a very interesting history during the Hundred Years War, the French Revolution, and during the Nazi occupation. Stunning and well worth the visit.

      June 26, 2015
  2. Meeting the French #

    Loving this journey…

    June 25, 2015
  3. I like the shape of those wine glasses ( added to my wish list)
    I think our village house would be a great cyclists stop-off if exploring the Languedoc

    June 26, 2015
  4. Gorgeous photos and beautiful weather too – looks like you’re having a great time back in France! 🙂

    June 26, 2015

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