by jini jones vail

I invite you to tag along with me during my decade of summers in the Loire Valley and beyond. Visit the Château Chenonceau spanning the River Cher, to discover why it is named the women’s castle; sit together in an ancient church in Tours listening to Yuri Bashmet master his world-famous viola; join me in my crystal-chandeliered class room of the “Institut de Touraine” where I learn French slang to the tune of pop songs; come with me to Château Loches for an evening of emotion and surprise at Honegger’s Opera, “Joan of Arc at the Stake”; lift a glass of Loire Valley wine with Maryse and myself at a tasting in Sancerre; spend time at my favorite left bank Paris hotel with an entire day at the Musee d’Orsay; drive to Quimper and Point du Raz on the western coast of Brittany; shop the open-air markets of Arles, Provence, in the south of France; stand in the exact spot where Monet stood to paint his many renderings of the Cathedral of Rouen; be present at the crowning of King Charles VII at Reims alongside Joan of Arc; stand at Harfleur harbor where the 11th century ‘White Ship’ was lost off the Norman coast i with all royals drowned; climb the ruins of King Richard I’s Château Gaillard high above the Seine River, surrounded by a mantle of fog; linger alone at the resting place of my grandmother, Queen Alienor of Aquitaine at Abbaye de Fontevraud near Chinon; enjoy tasty five-course dinners around Mado’s garden table in Tours and much, much more. Ready yourself for a ride you will never forget!


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