To celebrate the centennial of Deanna and Marc’s brother-in-law Jacques (40 + 2 weeks for one, 60 – 2 weeks for the other), we planned a trip to the Loire Valley and Toulouse in April 2013.
After a few relaxing days with great wines delicious food, it was time to cross an item off our bucket list and go tandem parachute jumping. Alexou (Marc’s godson) came with us and WE HAD A BLAST !!! After a 15 minute flight up to 13,000 feet through big white clouds, we jumped out for a one minute freefall at 200 km/h, before opening the parachute at 5,000 feet and spending another 6 or 7 minutes to circle over the beautiful countryside and finishing with a smooth landing, thanks to the great guides.
We then caught the TGV (fast train) and headed north to the Loire Valley, to visit a few castles along the favourite valley of the Kings of France.
We met with Marc and Francine, relatives of Marc’s who live in Luxembourg and love to travel. We checked in a little B&B, a quiet farm built in the 1500s on a huge property, then, off to the castles and leisurely meals in the sun (with the obligatory Loire Valley wines).
We visited Chamborg (beautiful architecture, with its famous double helix staircase, but simply too big and empty), Amboise, Blois (where we enjoyed the light and sound show at night – Francine had carefully chosen the date so the show was in English), and the Gardens of Villandry where the tulips (but alas not much else) were in full bloom.
We also visited the castle of Tintin and Captain Haddock (Moulinsart in the book, Cheverny in real life), and the two castles that we enjoyed the most: Chenonceau and Azay-le-Rideau, both elegantly set literally in/on a river, and combining nice gardens with attractive architecture and furniture and tapestry displays inside.