Amboise is a picturesque town, to say the least and it exceeds all expectations of a sweet French country village.
To our extreme pleasure, after a short drive from our gorgeous little B&B (post coming), we found a car spot easily within the town and followed the throngs of people down to the river to enjoy the Sunday morning markets.
We found delicious French small goods with many stalls serving more than 20 varieties of olives and cheese...Heaven!
We couldn’t believe it could get much better, but it did. We found a woman making the largest pans of paella I have ever seen. Of course not typically French, but how could you resist a serving of steaming hot saffron rice when it was beginning to sleet around you?
Excited about the potential snow, we continued to wander past the markets along the banks of the Loire river for a little longer. Although grey and bitterly cold, there was a mystique to it that kept us going down the banks.
It was time to make the trek up the hill to Leonardo Da Vinci’s house which was such a pleasure to explore. With J being an architecture student and an amateur bike/car mechanic, he found the inventions particularly enthralling. But as a lay person in these matters, I was probably all the more mesmerized by the ingenuity that existed so many years ago by one man.
The gardens even had life sized invention models to test out (definitely have a go of the catapult).
It was time for some refuge from the icy air so we headed back down into the town and took a seat at the Crêperie Anne de Bretagne. When eating out while travelling, generally we would steer clear of areas close to famous monuments as the food is usually below par and over priced. That was definitely not the case here.
We had a delicious crepe lunch (savoury and sweet of course) with local cider. Our particularly lovely waiter commended my French skills making this place an even bigger winner in my books. After a hot chocolate we were on our way again.
Of all the castles in the Loire Valley, Chateau d’Amboise was one of our favourites. It was more untouched and less elaborate which gave it a feeling that allows you to connect with the past of this incredible place.
The gardens were the best part, with unmatched views over the region.
With Da Vinci’s final resting place, a mini vineyard and rose garden it was easy to forget about the harsh winds that were almost blowing us over.
As it started to get dark, it was time to head back through the forest for dinner with our lovely host, Yvonne.