Divine Travels: A Royal Visit to Loire Valley, France

Welcome to the Loire Valley region, Central of France

(A view of the Loire River in Amboise.)
Welcome to the breathtaking and dreamy “Garden of France”the Loire Valley.

With the timely visit of the 44th President of the United States of America in the Philippines, Mr. President, my uncle (just kidding) Barack Obama, I also remember my “royal” visit to one of the most “feel-good” places of all time – Loire Valley.

"Letting my hair down..."

“I’m thinking whether to let my hair down this time or not…”

I mentioned in my post here how I dreamt of traveling to Disneyland. It was my kind of “la-la land” when I was a kid. Until now, I still haven’t been there yet but God made me experience something better.

Located in Central France, Loire Valley is also known as “The Cradle of the French Language”.

Located in Central France, Loire Valley is also known as “The Cradle of the French Language”.

Before heading to my first trip to Europe (one of the many miracles, read the intro to this blog series here) at 26 years old, my friend asked me if I want to go to Loire Valley. I didn’t have any idea where it was and what’s in that place. So, I googled it. I researched, read, and saw how picturesque Loire Valley is. All of a sudden, I was thrilled to the bones! I beamed with excitement just thinking about the place. And yes, of course, I agreed to go with her to this countryside of France.

Our home for our short 3-day stay in this region of France.

Our home for 3 days in this region of France.

From Paris, we took a TGV express train and journeyed for about an hour or so. It was my first time to commute with a heavy luggage and bag, which we need to carry from one train station to another, and up and down staircases. It was one of those days that I wished I were with a macho man who can carry our baggage for us. But I also realized that such circumstance is part of the fun and intensive work out when traveling.

One of my friend's happy times.

One of my friend’s happy times.

Upon arrival to Loire Valley, my friend rented a car for the three of us. She loves to drive even in the crazy streets of Manila. So undoubtedly, she enjoyed all the more, driving to the beautiful landscape of the Loire region. It was certainly a treat for her except for some mini clashes that we had here and there, which I think made our journey more interesting.

Where we had our last "petit-déjeuner" (breakfast) before heading to another chateau.

Where we had our last “petit-déjeuner” (breakfast) before heading to another chateau.

One of the best breakfast I had! Yes, we finished our individual sandwiches. The bread was so good!

One of the best breakfast I had! Yes, we finished our individual sandwiches. The bread was so good! It was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside! I just had one problem…

The baguette was too big and crispy! I thought I’m going to loose my two front teeth. Haha! Nonetheless, it was so good that I didn’t bother to get messy that morning.

The baguette was too big and crispy! I thought I’m going to loose my two front teeth. Haha! Nonetheless, it was so good that I didn’t bother to get messy that morning.

I knew we’ll be walking a lot in our few days in Loire Valley, so instead of glass slippers, I wore my sturdy Mizuno (they didn’t sponsor me) running shoes. I was there for comfort and not for style. So I wore whatever I had to keep me warm for autumn. I didn’t mind the possible scrutiny of French fashion snobs.

The majestic Château d’Amboise as my medieval backdrop.

Besides not being able to wear my glass slippers and my royal frock, I also forgot to bring my edible pumpkin ride. Maybe that’s why fairy godmother decided not to match me yet with the young and handsome Brad Pitt look-alike that I saw at a souvenir shop. I was already trying to play some basic French in my head, but I just didn’t have the guts to verbalize them to him. It wasn’t my style. I was too shy. 😉

One of my favorite pathways and "autumn" captured in photography. :)

One of my favorite pathways and “autumn” captured in photography. :)
I can still remember the feeling while walking to this pathway approaching one of the châteaux.

Nevertheless, I also discovered that a true lady doesn’t need a man to bring her incredible joy. She just needs to open her eyes and see the blessing in the season. Fairy godmother wasn’t able to pair me with someone special on this trip, but I was definitely swept away by the love of my Abba Father, my King. I really felt like I was in the movie “Enchanted”, as I was visiting one château after another.

The room

The unforgettable room at Château de Cheverny.

One of the châteaux that were unforgettable for me was Château de Cheverny. As I was walking at one of its rooms, which was quite dark for an afternoon, I suddenly heard a sound, “tok, tok, tok”. I looked around and saw no one in the room. I thought, “Who or what could it be?” Then the beating sound was there again, “tok, tok, tok.” I took another look and found this…

"The knocking bird" :)

“The knocking bird” :)

This made me laugh! The bird was knocking on the window until I took a photo of him. I felt like he was just trying to get my attention. Or perhaps to send a special message for me?

“The little bird reminded me to enjoy life and God’s blessings. To live life to the fullest.”

"The jumping bird" :)

“The jumping bird” :)

Beyond the fairy-tale experiences like this, I had so many reasons why I enjoyed Loire Valley so much. I felt like singing, dancing, and leaping to some classic Disney songs while wandering. I was also culturally satisfied by the immense amount of art and history that surrounds this region.

From its notably splendid châteaux (there are about 300 of them),

Château de Cheverny

Château de Cheverny

to historic towns,

here

Timber-framed houses in Amboise.

fruit orchards,

I know this is not a fruit but I just love this assortment of lettuce. So beautiful!

I know this is not a fruit but I just love this assortment of lettuce. So beautiful!

impressive architecture,

Château de Chambord

Château de Chambord

vineyards,

"Be amazed. There's a maze!"

“Be amazed. There’s a maze!”

and lush gardens,

Pedicured gardens

Manicured gardens at Château d’Amboise

there’s no doubt why a wide area of the Loire Valley is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The view from Leonardo Da Vinci's room at

The view from Leonardo Da Vinci’s room at Le Clos Lucé in Amboise.

Loire Valley is a serene, grand, and happy land that transported me to the time of French kings and aristocrats, and great artists like Leonardo Da Vinci.

"The Mona Lisa" (just a copy)

“The Mona Lisa” (just a copy)

I know that Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius but visiting his home and seeing the scale models of his (super advance) inventions made me realize the reality of his legacy. His work shows how exceptionally gifted he is.

The double-helix staircase that they say Leonardo Da Vinci helped in desiging at Chateau de Chambord

They say that this double-helix staircase at Château de Chambord was co-designed by Leonardo Da Vinci.

It’s amazing to see a lot of beautifully made and detailed tapestries, antiques, and other artworks around each grand château.

"L'Enfant Jésus et Saint Jean"  Pierre-Paul Rubens Siegen 1577 - Anvers 1640

“L’Enfant Jésus et Saint Jean”
Pierre-Paul Rubens
Siegen 1577 – Anvers 1640

I extremely enjoyed my time in Loire Valley. Out of 300 unique and impressive châteaux that Loire Valley displays, I only got to see a few of them. For some, these châteaux and gardens may all look similar, but for me each has its own character and beauty. (Although, maybe if I’ll stay here for more than a week, I’ll also think the same.)

Special hounds at Château Cheverny. They're huge!

Special hounds at Château Cheverny. They’re huge!

My favorite hallway at Château de Chenonceau.

My favorite hallway at Château de Chenonceau.

I can’t picture myself living in such an extravagant château for a long time. But I’m thinking, if people can build such enormous and grandiose castles, and grow well-groomed and colorful gardens on earth… I wonder… how much more magnificent and splendid are our eternal mansions and lavishly prepared our heavenly views are? In that place, I look forward to and can surely live.

Just a thought…

Sunset - Loire River.

Sunset – Loire River.

I enjoyed my Autumn Love in Loire Valley. It gave me a taste of aristocracy, history, and arts . Three days is such a short time to visit. So next time I get the chance to travel in this area again, I’d love to see more vineyards, drink wine, and ride bicycles.

17 Cities in 7 Years… one of which is a divine travel to Loire Valley, France.

❦___❤ ___❦

Bucket List: ☑ To be more cultured ☑ To see the Mona Lisa (not the real one yet) ☑ To see Brad Pitt (look-alike)  ☑ To visit real castles ☑ Learn more about Leonardo da Vinci ☑ To eat real French bread ☑ Travel with friends          ☑ To travel in Europe ☑ To fall in love

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5 Comments

  • May 2, 2014

    Diane

    What breathtaking photos! An enchanted time indeed, and I love the little knocking bird. God’s messenger ^_^ <3

    • May 2, 2014

      jmdelarama

      Thanks Diane! I actually had a hard time choosing from all my photos! I wanted to share them all haha. Very enchanting. Feeling of super loved talaga. I also want you guys to feel that. That’s my hope in writing these divine travels. :) thanks D!

  • May 2, 2014

    jmdelarama

    P.S. The knocking and jumping bird was really something haha!

  • May 3, 2014

    La Coyere Gites

    What a wonderful write up. Love the photos, great eye! Glad to see you have enjoyed the Loire Valley.

    • May 3, 2014

      jmdelarama

      Hi! Thank you for that. :) I really enjoyed my short journey to Loire Valley. Looking forward to visit again in the future!