amboise by the river

Travels around the Loire Valley

Pique-nique along the Loire

We had the good fortune to spend a couple of weeks in the Loire Valley near Amboise.  A small-but-big-enough town of about 15,000, we enjoyed simple living and lazy journeys through the countryside.  When friends visited us from Paris, we wandered down to the Loire River and put together a sunset picnic on the shore. Relaxed and delightful and a wonderful reminder about slowing down and drinking in the lovely world around us.

Another day, we walked and walked and ended up at Clos de Lucé overlooking Amboise.  A beautiful property, it was the last home of Leonardo da Vinci and houses a small museum with his inventive designs.  Leonardo died there in 1519.  Just sitting in his courtyard and imagining his residence offered us another moment to think about time and history and our place in it – somewhat like looking at the ocean and realizing how small you are.

amboise da vinci's home

Leonardo da Vinci’s last home

The entire area surrounding Amboise teems with history and châteaux, not to mention the one looming above the town – Château d’Amboise.  Yet another fascinating sight was all of the troglodyte dwellings nearby – dwellings carved directly out of the cliff’s face that have been modernized and made quite habitable.

Despite all of the stimulating historic sights, the simple experiences stand out:

  • the lively market with everything from grain crafts to steaming paella
  • walking by the river where goats lazed about in the field
  • meeting an elder man by his communal garden
  • driving through the vineyards swollen with deep purple grapes

Yes, it’s very tempting to think about returning for a more permanent stay.  In one of my ‘what’s out there?’ forays on the net, I discovered this quite affordable gem.

Hmmmm … what if?  We can always imagine, can’t we?

Loire Valley France

Amboise market – steaming paella!

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