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The Loire Valley Itinerary
Chateau Chenonceau - Home of Louise The Inconsolable, Among Others
Today is a long cycle, 40 miles plus, but much of it follows the delightful Indre valley, and the flat rolling countryside that divides the Indre and the River Cher.
We can visit Château Nitray, and if we're lucky the owner - one of very few amusing people in France - will join us as we spend some time wine tasting. He can get a bit enthusiastic, and a slightly inebriated exit is not unknown.
Our hotel tonight is the Relais de Chenonceaux, a 3*** hotel in the heart of the village, just a short stroll from the chateau of Chenonceau, the most famous and most visited of all the Loire chateaux.
The ballroom, built by Catherine de Medici, spans the Cher in spectacular fashion, and although the Château had no military value it took on a gloomy historical role in the 20th century. It served as an army hospital in the First World War and in the Second World War, when the Cher formed the boundary between occupied France and Vichy France, Chenonceau faced both ways , each end of the ballroom opening into a different country.
Unfortunately the son et lumière at Chenonceau is about the worst in the whole valley - you could do a reasonable impression with a light bulb and a dictaphone. It's a lovely walk after dinner, but I won't be bothering again.