The city of Tours and Château d’Artigny was a good starting point for our self-guided driving tour throughout the Loire Valley of France. Our day’s agenda took us through the region of Touraine, to Château de Chenonceau and Château d’Amboise. We first arrived at Chenonceau, one of the loveliest and most romantic of all the chateaux…

Beautiful Château Chenonceau stretches across the Cher River; next to it sits the 15th-century Tour des Marques
The graceful elegance French Renaissance architecture is reflected against the Cher
A little dock sits near the castle complete with a tower, straight out of a fairytale
The incredible gardens are best captured in this aerial photo
Picturesque farm in the town of Chenonceaux appears plucked out of a distant time
Quaint cottage in Chenonceaux

From there, we headed off to the town of Amboise with its medieval roots. The Flamboyant Gothic style of Château d’Amboise was a favorite of 15th-century kings, from Louis XI to Francis I. And the town was the last home of Leonardo da Vinci.

Overlooking the town of Amboise on the Loire River
The town of Amboise and its fortified royal castle governs this part of the Loire
Entrance to the chateau and view up to the Flamboyant Gothic spires and tracery windows of Chapelle St-Hubert
Thick piers and walls of the Romanesque fortress surrounding Château d’Amboise displays its medieval roots
The ‘Tour de l’Horloge’ (clock tower) presides over this street in charming Amboise

We stopped for a french press at a local café, then finished off our day tour with a picnic, shopping the specialized markets for some meats, cheeses, a baguette and a bottle of Cabernet d’Anjou. Delicious… and oh, so French!

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