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The Loire Valley Itinerary
Downstream Must Mean Downhill - Right?
We spend most of today cycling downstream beside the Loire, so a really easy day to finish. We pass through Chaumont, which in addition to its château boasts a famous garden festival where 30 plots of 250 m2 are given over to gardeners and landscapers who are encouraged to display all their originality and creation. It's good.
Our final destination is Amboise, which we may have visited earlier in the week. We are staying at the Hotel Blason, close to the château and the old town, and tonight we eat at the Restaurant d'Ecluse. This town is worth another visit. The setting of the château overlooking the Loire is one of the most used images of the Loire valley, and Amboise also puts on one of the better son et lumière.
The town has a medieval centre, largely pedestrianised and full of bustle. There are a number of bars and cafes sitting directly beneath the huge château walls, and I reckon we've usually earned a sit-down and a glass of the local Touraine or Vouvray.
For anyone who hasn't visited Leonardo's place at the Clos-Lucé, it's well worth it. Many of the original furnishings are still in place, including the great man's bed, and there is a permanent exhibition of his inventions and writings including several exquisite scale models. Leonardo invented wings that didn't work, helicopters that didn't work and airplanes that didn't work. To be honest, they're nothing special, but he did so much more than we generally associate with him. There are touching examples of his philosophy, and wonderful models of inventions that did work, like an ingenious water pump. Definitely worth visiting. 35 miles.