The Loire Valley. It was on my “Must Visit” list. It’s also on my “Must Buy Real Estate Here” list, but you know… it’s always another email, another important meeting you cannot postpone, always another project which needs to be implemented. In the run for success and fortune, “some other time” starts to become a lifestyle.
You work, you make money, you’re always thinking about developing new businesses and aiming for new professional successes.
As Rihanna would say, you get it how you live it, you live it how you get it, count the mothafuckin’ digits!
And in the middle of it all, you wake up one day and you realize that maybe, just maybe, these are not the priorities that matter for you. Maybe they are expectations that society imprints on you. And you realize that your idea of success has changed. A lot actually. And all that pressure you put on yourself has come to a point when it starts to vanish.
So the new You gets another chance to go on an adventure on the Loire Valley (the last time when you bought a plane ticket to this destination you basically abandoned the plane ticket & all the reservations because you needed to go and present a TV show) and accepts it on the spot. Because any type of countess – even self-declared ones – loves any kind of castle. Especially the French ones. And just the idea of visiting the places where Catherine de Medici, Leonardo da Vinci, Diane de Poitiers or Louise de Lorraine lived got my Countess soul on fire. And because, for the first time ever, you look at your To Do lists and you stop there, just at looking. Not panicking, not trying to do them all, not willing to sacrifice your adventures for them. Because you might have a clearer idea of what accomplishment truly means for You! And are not those To Do lists! Not the public applause!
Chateau Royal d ‘Amboise, Chateau du Clos Luce, Domaine de Chaumont sur Loire (Chateau de Chaumont – a UNESCO heritage), Chateau de Chenonceau, Chateau Royal de Blois, Chateau Chambord One by one, each castle unveiled histories that fascinated us and stuck in our memories for eternity.
At first, the idea of going visiting in December made me think that it might be cold and might ruin our experience. But guess what? It was perfect! Not too hot, not cold, just moderate. Not fluffed with tons of coats but not dying of cold. I loved the fact that it was not over crowded with visitors. I was absolutely mesmerized by their Christmas decorations. The embellished chapels, the sophisticated table arrangements, the fireplaces or decorative elements; everything looked exactly like a fairy tale scenery. I have rarely seen such an attention to details. Did you know that each castle has its own florist team? They take care of the flower arrangements in each room of each castle, have flower ateliers and each castle has its own flower and plant gardens. Some florist designers are really prestigious ones and some of their installations left us in awe.
I was beyond impressed with the respect and care the French people shows towards their castles and their history. I was touched to tears when I visited Leonardo da Vinci’s mansion and tomb. King Francois I invited Leonardo to France at the Chateau Royal d’Amboise and named him „The First Painter, Architect and Engineer of the King”. Leonardo da Vinci spent his last three years of his life at King Francois’ court, living at Chateau du Clos Luce. A beautiful mansion build for him in the garden of the Chateau d’Amboise. These two architectural jewelries communicated with each other through an underground tunnel.
I was blown away by the beautiful details of these castles, where even the tiniest corner was restored with the most exquisite & attentive aesthetic value.
At every castle entrance, there’s brochures in every language you can imagine, detailing the building’s history. They even had brochures in Romanian, which was somewhat shocking to me, pleasantly of course, this being the first time I came across something like this.
Château de Chenonceau – The Castle of the Ladies – won my heart forever. I knew its history and walking its gardens, Catherine’s stables, plus the over 70 hectares of forest, hallways and rooms was like having a chat with Catherine de Medici or Diane de Poitiers. Ohhh, the drama, the intigue, the secrets, the love stories, the poisons…My heart skipped a beat. Or a dozen. Absolutely unforgettable!
This castle is the most visited place of the Loire Valley. Well, it was owned by a few outstanding ladies. It’s natural.
To maintain the royal feeling, our accommodation was at Le Clos d ‘Amboise. The rooms, the reception, the yard and all the decor made you feel the vibe of those years. This is one memorable boutique hotel.
Domaine de Chaumont sur Loire was one of Catherine de Medici’s residences, the wife of King Henry II. The castle was in her possession from 1550 to 1559, when she forced the king’s mistress, Diane of Poitiers to move here, while Catherine moved to Chateau de Chenonceau. Told you, the intrigue was outstandinggg!
I was very proud to find in one of the hallways of the Chateau de Chaumont the picture of Carol I as one of the special guests of the castle, along with Marcel Proust, Sarah Bernhardt or the King of England.
Chateau Royal de Blois has four architectural styles, but they all seamlessly blend together. Besides the busts of 6 kings who lived there and Catherine de Medici’s bedroom, where she died, the castle is largely a 15th century painting, sculpture and tapestry exhibition. And the Gothic stair is said to be one of the most appreciated works of architecture in the world.
Chateau Chambord, the largest in the Loire Valley. President Macron was celebrating his birthday there so it was just the exterior on a foggy day for us. But as you know I love gloomy weather, that was pretty special for me. Looking on the bright side is the new black people!
Well, something tells me you want me to just shut up and leave you enjoy the wonderful photographic memories we’ve gathered. Well, take a look, I think this is the longest post I’ve ever done on the site. Ever.
For Claude and I this was one of our most fascinating trips together. Thank you to Razvan & Andra Pascu for taking care of us and my chic travel companions: Ovidiu, Carmen and Andrei for baring with my fuss.
Also, I send the greatest respect and appreciation to the French people for keeping the spirit of the Renaissance period alive and teaching the whole world how preserving and respecting your history can build the most fascinating future!