We did get lost- a little issue where we zigged where we should have zagged and ended up on a bigger loop than necessary- so the ride out to the Chateau ended up being longer than the 20km we planned. No matter though, as it was a pleasant ride.
The trail followed quiet farm roads and country lanes. There were very few spots when you had to use the road, and it was usually to cut through a sleepy little village with little traffic anyway.
France has been long denuded of trees, save for a handful of forest preserves. It was lovely to ride through the shade of trees, their leaves starting to get crackly and dry with impending autumn.
The Estate of Chambord is a giant game preserve, with a 32km wall around the permiter to keep the boars and red deer in.
First, a picnic...
A lovely bottle of local white. The Loire has good, crisp, fruity white wines.
I failed to find cups on the way, so we rinsed out a container of coconut water we brought, chopped the top off and had a very nice wine glass. Keeping it classy.
Loire area is also known for its excellent goat cheese. With a saucisson, a hearty bread, fresh apples and pears, we had a nice warming picnic lunch.
Max Vauche is the local awesome chocolatier. It's good, fantastic stuff that I'm now hoping I might be able to locate in Paris.
Ah, already sunny outlook much improved. On to the Chateau.
Chambord is the largest and grandest of the Loire Chateaus.
It was originally built as a hunting lodge for François I, the Chateau was where the Louve squirreled away works such as the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo during WWII.
The most unique element of Chambord is the double-helix main staircase, rumored to be designed by Da Vinci.
Also unique- you can climb the stairs and end up on the roof for a really nice view of the spires and the grounds.
Not too shabby.