After a delightful five days in Paris, we set off on our road trip. We picked up our little Fiat Panda from the rental car agency, and away we went. Our first stop would be the Loire Valley, famous for being a playground for the nobility.
Wealthy members of the royal family would have castles, or chateaux, along the picturesque river valley. There are close to 50 chateaux within just a couple hours of each other, that you could spend an entire summer visiting if you so chose. We were just passing through, so time was limited, but we had a couple days to enjoy the area. We were set to stay in a small village called Azay-le-Rideau. So off we went!
So apparently, the Loire Valley is incredibly beautiful. While the closest city is Tours, most of the area is comprised of quaint French villages and sprawling fields. About every three minutes, we’d pass a field full of sunflowers. It almost become old hat to see sunflower fields.
It took us a few hours and about 1,000 roundabouts to make it to Azay-le-Rideau. We came through the back roads, and at first, it seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere. And that was perfectly fine with us; we relished the solitude after being in the big city. We drove on some one-lane roads and pulled up a dirt and gravel driveway to our lodging, a bed and breakfast called Troglododo. Troglododo was a small lodging in a troglodyte, or cave dwelling. Cave dwellings became popular in the Loire Valley after the 11th century, when vast amounts of quarrying was done in the Loire rock. When the quarrying resulted in rock cavities, people started to make these caves their homes. Finding troglodytes is rather easy in the Loire Valley, and they are truly one of the more unique forms of living that I’ve seen. Our room was outfitted with modern amenities that made it easy to forget that we were in a cave (I probably would have preferred an even more rustic atmosphere, but beggars can’t be choosers).
Our lodging at Troglododo
Home, sweet peaceful view!
A nearby troglodyte
The peaceful farm life of the Loire Valley
We were already falling in love with the Loire Valley, and we hadn’t yet even seen any chateaux. We also hadn’t discovered that we weren’t, in fact, in the middle of nowhere; the charming village of Azay-le-Rideau lay ahead of us to discover. And soon we would!