• Tag Archives France
  • Bordeaux Champion & Avoir Bordeaux, Hola Espana

    Bordeaux, France

    Sue Bartlett and I played the 60s final today and finally played on Court 1, which was a good court! We were the 4th match after 9am (and not before 1:30). Fortunately, the three previous finals were straight sets, so we got on court not long after 2pm. And then we hogged the court for nearly three hours. The first set was very long, and had a rhythm till the end; we actually were on serve till 5-5 with no breaks which for 60+ women on red clay was sort of amazing. We had a lot of long deuce games though, starting with the first one which lasted over 10 minutes I think. I finally broke at 5-5, won the first point of the next game….and then lost 8 points in a row, then won 7 straight to win the set 76 (4). The second set was also tough. I got up 4-0 because Sue slowed down, then she seemed to get a second wind and won 3 games straight. I managed to close out the set 63, but it took quite a few match points. Sue played really well and I scrambled well. As one spectator told me, she volleyed well and I had good legs for running.

    Sue and I with our doubles prizes.

    Ross Persons had a tough match with Pierre Godfroid in the men’s 60s final, losing 76 75. Ross said he had some set points in the first set but that Godfroid came up with big serves on the big points and accurate volleys. Persons though won the men’s and mixed doubles.

    Darren Price fell in the semis of the men’s 45 doubles in a match tiebreak (navigating those is tricky) and Catherine Taylor (Mary on the draw) lost her first round robin doubles match, but has another tomorrow.

    I didn’t see much this year of Bordeaux. I had to play one match each day at an undefined time and also had smashed my toes at the beginning of the week; they were ok by today but I couldn’t walk a lot on them till today. But I had a nice time, loved the local food and club.

    There was a nice awards ceremony after the matches finished (they were waiting for us I think) with prize giving, and some food and drinks. I won a huge bottle of wine (see above) which I exchanged for a gift certificate at a local tennis shop which sponsored the tournament. And we received tea towels from the club for doubles (much more portable than wine!). So we all went shopping after the ceremony and I have some more tennis clothes and a RF hat!

    The Alles (Adrian plays in the 85s) are at a lot of these tournaments…always smiling and dressed to kill!

    I’m off to Mallorca tomorrow to train for the worlds in Portugal. It’s very hot there so hopefully I’ll survive the training Monday!

    Draws are here.

    Previous posts about Bordeaux


  • Doubles Champions; Singles Final Saturday

    Bordeaux, France

    It was another lovely day in Bordeaux. Sue Bartlett and I were rescheduled to the 6th match after 8:30 (not before 2pm)…we got on around 5pm. We played two Spaniards, Encarnacion Gomiz and Carmen Lang and won 60 60, (and there were 3 no-ad games we played). We played on Court 7, which is basically concrete with a bit of red clay on top, painted lines, dangerously slippery.

    Sue and I play the singles final tomorrow 4th match after 9am, not before 1:30pm but on Court 1, the first time either of us has played a match on the main bank of courts. It’s unlikely I’ll see much if anything of Bordeaux this trip but I’ve seen a lot of Villa Primrose, which is a lovely old club.

    Don’t forget to sweep the court after play!

    Ross Persons finds himself in three finals; he won the mixed 55 with Luisa Gouveia of Portugal; and he’s in the 60 men’s final vs Belgian Pierre Godfroid and the men’s doubles final with Fritz from the Netherlands.

    Darren Price from USA and Andrew Moraghan GBR are into the QF of the men’s 45 doubles, beating two Brits to reach the semis.

    And that’s a wrap on today’s action. Final tomorrow then on to the next stop Sunday morning.

    Draws

    Previous posts:

    Traveling…

    Bordeaux Doubles Day

    Bordeaux Thursday; Singles Success; Slippery Clay!


  • Bordeaux Thursday; Singles Success; Slippery Clay!

    Bordeaux, France

    I played my second round robin match today against Carmen Lang, who just won the Spanish closed nationals in the 60s. We were the 2nd match after 11am on court 7, the 4th match overall on that court. The 3rd match began about 11:30 but went three sets so we didn’t start till after 2pm. Meanwhile, Court 8 next door was open for hours, till after we finished our match, while many matches were waiting for courts. But I was told that it was not possible to change courts once posted on the schedule.

    Anyway, it was my only match, a pleasant afternoon and neither hot nor cold so it was not unpleasant to wait under the trees. I warmed up with Ross Persons who is in the men’s 60 semis after upsetting the #2 seed yesterday. He had the day off from singles today. We warmed up on the slippery fast indoor clay (picture a cement court with thickly painted lines and a lot of red dirt thrown on top and you get the picture…VERY slippery). It was a perfect warm up because Court 7 was also very slippery, very dry, quite fast and had painted lines and clay thrown over cement. It was also pretty windy at times.

    I won 61 62, and Carmen played a good second set. She really whacked her forehand any time the ball was short or mid court, and whacked it pretty well to the corners, but also made a fair number of mistakes, which helped me out. We again were given pretty water bottles (which I didn’t’ realize was in my backpack so I carried it home).

    I also caught up with some friends I hadn’t seen for a while, Andrew Moraghan, Catherine Taylor and Darren Price. Darren fell in three sets in men’s 50s, Catherine lost in W45 but Andrew won, to face the #2 seed next.

    On my way to the club I walked by my favorite Patisserie and sandwich shop for a “poulet aux crudités” or a chicken, veggie and egg sandwich on a fresh baguette. It was wonderful (and I have half left for tomorrow)…all for about $4. On the way back from the club I picked up some carrot salad which is so very good in France and had a wonderful dinner with that, some Tomme cheese and baguette.

    Tomorrow Sue Bartlett and I play doubles, our final RR match and then on Saturday we play each other in the singles final. It’s been a pretty spread out schedule with only a match a day starting Tuesday.

    Draws are here.

    Traveling…

    Bordeaux Doubles Day


  • Bordeaux Doubles Day

    Bordeaux, France

    Today was a pretty relaxing one since I only had one doubles match, 2nd match on court 9 after 2pm. We started around 3:30 or so I think and played Sylvia Shipley and Fiona Walker, whom we’d played in singles yesterday. We won 60 61. Here the format is no ad and a match tiebreak in lieu of a third set. We forgot about the no ad on our first deuce and won the point (and game; we asked the referee and he said points played in good faith stood); we remembered it the second time and lost the point.

    Sue won her round robin group today while I still have to play my second round robin match tomorrow. I play fourth match on court 7, 2nd match after 11am. So maybe around 1, 2 or3pm. It depends on the length of matches earlier in the day.

    Here’s a photo of Sue Bartlett and me. She’s playing the deuce side and when she comes to net for some reason our opponents lobbed me. Hmmmmm. We don’t have doubles tomorrow so she has an off day to tour a bit. My touring day will be on Saturday.

    Draws are here.

    Traveling…


  • Traveling…

    Bordeaux, France, Wednesday (WiFi was down Tuesday….)

    After a long weekend watching my nephew getting married (The Carmel Mission Church is beautiful as was the wedding), I drove to SFO. I had a stop in Scott’s Valley (bear Santa Cruz) for a tennis match. We interrupted the match several times to listen to Wimbledon Radio as the men’s final kept going…

    I flew Tap Airlines to Lisbon. It arrived late but I made my connection. Neither flight left from a gate. We were bused to the terminal a long way. There were only stairs, not ramps.

    I cleared passport control and security and made my flight where we waited for quite a while, 20-30 minutes outside on steps for a bus, then once again were driven to the plane.

    The flight to Bordeaux was smooth and my bags came pretty quickly. I arrived at my lodgings on time. After a walk to the market I went to the club, only 10 minutes away by foot and hit some balls with Sue Bartlett, with whom I am playing doubles this week. The courts, red clay of course, are very very dry and quite fast for red clay.

    I won my first round on Tuesday over Sylvia Shipley from Great Britain. Sue had a tough match with Fiona Walker, winning 75 64. The second set was pretty topsy-turvy. Sue led 30- 40-15, Fiona leveled at 4-4, redlining her ground strokes. Sue was up 5-4 but down 40-0 with Fiona serving and won five points on the trot to finish the match. Sylvia is shown below.

    I play the #1 Spanish player tomorrow, Thursday, but we play Fiona and Shirley today in doubles.

    Ross Persons from the USA, a member of the men’s 60 Cup team is here, one of the few Americans in the draw.

    Draws are here.


  • USIC Tennis Presidents’ Cup

    The International Club (IC) is a tennis organization originally founded by the United States and Great Britain…today it consists of about 30 countries. It’s a way for mostly high level players to get together in a more casual competition than tournaments.

    The Presidents’ Cup is a biannual competition between France and the United States for men and women who have played for their country in the past or who have won national titles. In 2016 it was held in La Jolla, California at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. This year, the 7th iteration of the event, it was held in Normandy France, at two different clubs, the Garden Club in Cabourg and at the Villiers Sur Mer Club. The French Captain was Bruno Renoult and the US Co-Captains were Charlie Hoeveler and Erika Smith.

    This competition is named for Robert “Bobby” Abdesselam and Eugene “Gene” Scott, who were long-time presidents of the French IC and USIC, respectively.

    The two teams first got together on Thursday evening at the City Hall in Cabourg for wine and then walked to the beach to a creperie for dinner which the French IC hosted. (I had moules frites…mussels and French fries..and a salade verte (green salad)..very good!).

    On Friday the French IC arranged for the teams to go to the Beaches in Normandy where DDay took place and to see the DDay memorial and cemeteries. Needless to say it was very moving and hard to fathom the carnage of that day. The beaches are so long and the the cliffs so steep.

    On Saturday we had our first round of matches, singles in the morning and early afternoon followed by doubles. I played Bridgette Simon, who played on tour in the 70s and was a very good player, though she said now she plays mostly golf. In the afternoon Mai Ichikawa-Abel and I played doubles against Brigette Cadoret and Nicole Hesse. In between the French treated us to a delicious buffet…just the bread and cheese were fantastic, and then there was carrot salad and apple torte…I do love French food!

    Here’s a photo of the USA players (thanks Cheri Wulf for taking the photo!)

    It was a good thing we played tennis because we had another nice dinner, in Deauville, which is on the beach, featuring hake (fish), and an ice cream and Madeline desert which was superb.

    Today, Sunday, was all doubles. Paul Wulf and I played Bridgette Cadoret and Clive, which was fun. Then Armistead Neely and I took on Geoff Cykman and Sylvie (they whomped us). Overall though the USA retained the Cup till 2020 anyway, when the 8th iteration will be held in the USA.

    For more information on the USIC tennis, go to USICtennis.org.

    I’m off now to a tournament in Croatia, my last stop on this European tour!


  • Beuvron-En-Auge and Seeing Caen

    Cabourg, Normandy, France, Thursday Morning August 6, 2018

    Good morning! Yesterday was a busy one…tennis, sight-seeing, meeting up with IC friends and dinner.

    It was a drizzly Wednesday, but on clay that doesn’t stop the tennis. We drilled for a while, then headed off to Beauvron-En-Angie, one of the most beautiful cities in France. It’s tiny, only about 200 permanent inhabitants, and only a few blocks long, but charming, lined with restored half timbered houses, and there’s also a charming small church full of chandeliers and small stained glass windows. The region is also noted for its Calvados, an apple brandy…there’s a Calvados route, similar to a wine route in other areas of France. Many of the windows of the buildings had lace inside and flower boxes outside.

    After leaving Beuvron-en-Auge

    , we headed to Caen, known for its castle, churches (St. Etienne and St. Trinite) and part in the World War II Normandy Invasion. It also has a long pedestrian shopping street and I found a couple of interesting eyeglass stores. By the time we left Caen, around 5pm, the cafes lining the pedestrian street were packed

    We met some of the USIC tennis people for dinner. Unfortunately, our crepe shop from Monday was closed as were a lot of the restaurants in Cabourg (it’s a summertime town…many shops seemed closed for the winter), but we found an open restaurant and Mai, Brent, Robert (who lives in Switzerland and is a native French speaker), Erika and I had dinner there. We saw Bob & Joanne and Geoff too.. and Erika and Mai found Judy at the bus station…the US International Club team is coming together!

    Off to practice now and tomorrow we tour the Normandy Beaches.


  • Cabourg, Normandy, France,

    Cabourg, Normandy, France, September 4, 2018

    It was back to tennis today for Erika and me. We had a long practice session (focusing on serves). I then introduced Erika to Lidl (Susan and Robin, they have the same bread here as in Germany…and the same slicer). We found carrot salad (my favorite) some Tomme cheese (all varieties are delicious, especially Tomme de Savoi) and of course a bit of chocolate.

    After lunch we walked into the town, which has a pretty Main Street lined with restaurants, bakeries and candy shops mostly. The Main Street led us to the Grand Hotel, a five star Sofitel property. We walked through it to the beach and the promenade which goes on for a long ways. The promenade is lined with houses, which seem to be a mix of half timbered houses and Brittany style houses.

    Tomorrow we are going to explore the area around Cabourg (after tennis practice of course), and out teammates for the US/France International Club match should be trickling in.


  • Paris to Rouen to Cabourg (Normandy)

    Tuesday September 4, Cabourg, Normandy, France

    Monday we left Paris after renting a car and buying the obligatory baguette in Paris. First stop was Rouen, a little over an hour outside of Paris. It is the capital of Normandy and is known for its half-timbered houses, Astronomical Clock (Gros Horloge) and the Rouen Cathedral (among many gothic cathedrals in the city). Victor Hugo called it the town of 1000 bells for the many cathedrals and I now understand why!

    We drove to the city center and walked by the Rouen Cathedral of Notre Dame (which was closed to entry when we were there; they don’t open till 2pm on Mondays). The cathedral is also famous for having been painted by Monet several times; several of the paintings are in the Musee d’Orsey in Paris.

    Then we walked around the old town which is full of half timbered houses, some dating back to the 15th century. Most have been restored…there are over 2000 in the city. They are vividly painted and the old city is charming. Also in the old town is the Astrological Clock which is quite ornate.

    After leaving Rouen (well worth a trip and maybe an overnight stay), we headed on to Cabourg where we have a French/US International Club match later in the week. After checking into our hotel (which has some half-timbered features and is near the hippodrome, a big race track for horses) we set off the find the tennis club. There was some driving in circles but it ended up being quite close and we hit on the red clay courts which were very nice, and there were lots of them (and very few players).

    We ended the day at a creperie which was excellent. Potatoes, cheese, ham and egg…simple but delicious with a fantastic salade verte.

    More tennis today and some exploring of the town which is right on the ocean.


  • Paris! Bon Jour and Au Revoir

    Champs d”Elysee ✔️ Eiffel Tower at night ✔️ Notre Dame at sunset ✔️ Arc d’Triomphe 7 Walk to Roland Garros ✔️ Bois de Boulogne ✔️ Moules Frites ✔️ Carrot Salad ✔️Baguette

    And then there were two…Erika Smith and I, who are playing an IC (International Club) match in Normandy next weekend, took the TGV from Munich to Paris early Saturday morning. It was a direct train and speeds reached well over 200 kph as we raced between the cities. Paris is west of Munich and the weather here is perfect; it was rainy and cool Friday and Saturday in Munich. The trip took about six hours.

    On Saturday we walked to Roland Garros and saw the cranes there working on Ct. Philip Chatrier and then took the metro to the Champs d’Elysee where we walked down the broad boulevard to the Arc de Triomphe. There we walked up to the top of the Arc, where there were panoramic views of the city. The Arc is at the center of a big spoke with tree-lined streets poking out in all directions. I could see the Sacre Cour, the Eiffel Tower and in the distance, the giant cranes working on Roland Garros and beyond it, the Bois de Boulogne, an enormous park twice the size of Central Park.

    After the sight seeing we went back to the area near our hotel and found a restaurant we’d walked by earlier which served “moules frites” (mussels and French fries) and I had some haricot vertes (green beans). Everything was delicious as French food should be.

    Today we had a bit of a late start. I went to the small gym and then we tried to find a tennis court to play on but they were all either private or needed a log in to a general reservation system. (I tried that but the email said I’d be confirmed within 7 days). We gave up and did a bit of running in the park across the street instead.

    After lunch we went to the Latin Quarter and past the Sorbonne, to the Parthenon, a beautiful building which is the mausoleum for important French people such as Madame and Monsieur Currie, Voltaire etc. The building itself is gorgeous, built as a symmetrical cross in the Greek fashion with paintings on the walls.

    After leaving the Parthenon, we visited the small but beautiful church associated with the building and then walked into the Latin Quarter which was buzzing with people at cafes and enjoying live music. We walked down to the Seine from there and again, music was everywhere and people where dancing on the side of the river.

    Our next stop was Notre Dame, where the evening light hit the front facade and it was beautiful, it’s called the “golden light” for a reason.

    After leaving the “Cite” and Notre Dame we went to the Eiffel Tower and walked around it till it lit up…literally. It was lit in golden light as well and at 9pm the lights flashed for about 5-10 minutes. It too was lovely. Paris is a beautiful city.

    And that was Paris for this trip. Next stop…Normandy.


  • Bordeaux Doubles Success

    Lyn Mortimer and I played the 2nd seeds in the doubles yesterday and won 61 61, but the match was a bit closer than that score would indicate. We had several long deuce games during which the lead changed hands a few times. We played Beatrix Mezger Reboul of France and Ayse Sevtap Akdere of Turkey.

    After the match I had some massage from the physio..because one can never have too many massages, then the tournament director gave us our prizes. I got 2 bottles of wine, a big one and a small one. Lyn drove from Germany and so ended up with a double prize.

    In the morning and early afternoon I walked around Bordeaux along with what seemed to be half of France. The shopping streets were packed and there were sales everywhere.

    I walked by the Cathedral and went by the Opera House and Intercontinental hotel. The doors on the old buildings are painted various colors and are pretty.

    I did some clothes shopping and never saw any yoga pants. In fact, most of the clothing was pretty fitted, not much stretch to them. It was warm and most of the French women wore dresses or skirts. That’s the end of my fashion report.

    Off next to Frankfurt then back to the USA.


  • Bordeaux Champion (not Champignon) in Three Sets

    Today was all tennis in Bordeaux (as opposed to other days which were 90% tennis). I played Lyn Mortimer from Australia (whom I played in the Essen final). In France, the tournaments schedule differently from other countries…we were third match on Court 1 not before 11:30. The first match started at 9 am. This means two quick matches can result in match #3 starting about 11:30…or a long one, such as the three-setter on Court 1 which finished at 11:30, can delay the start of matches on that court all day. We started around 1pm, following Roger Taylor.

    (Roger Taylor from Gr. Britain is a former Wimbledon semifinalist and US doubles champion who plays now in the 70s. He injured his left (playing) shoulder and rather than give up tennis, he learned to serve righty and then switches to hit groundless and volleys with his left hand. He lost today in the 70s semis to a swifter player, but still has lovely strokes and demeanor. )

    Lyn came out playing well, aggressively as always but with few errors and a very high service percentage. We went on serve to 4-3, but then Lyn broke and held, winning the last 10 or so points of the set and the set 63. I played a little more aggressively at the start of the 2nd and went up 4-0 before Lyn fought back to 43. I dug out the last two games to even the match. The third set I won 61 after dropping the first game but the games were long and the points were too. It was a good 2 hour final and I’m sure we set the schedule back a bit more. Several hours later we teamed up for doubles though and won through to the final which is tomorrow afternoon/early evening (second match after 3:30).

    Champignon means mushroom by the way in French.


  • Wednesday Final

    The Bordeaux tournament doesn’t fool around..Lyn Mortimer (Australia) and I are already into the singles final, and afterwards will play doubles together.

    I played Sylvie from France today. She’s a pretty good player, won the Cognac Grade 2 last week, and is fast. However she was erratic and I won 61 60. Lyn played Sylvia from Austria and put down a double bagel on the #11 ranked 60s player.

    These courts are a bit quicker than Essen though the balls are similar to Essen, heavy and hard. I had good hits with Chris French (GBR) and Shirley the TD today so should be ready for tomorrow.. fingers crossed.

    After playing I went to get laundry soap from the Carrefours Cite down the street. Walking down the street one would never expect to see a grocery store till suddenly it’s there, full of Baguettes 🥖, cheese, carrot salad, chocolate and more.

    My clothes are washing for hours apparently as I found the washing machine confusing to use. Hopefully the come out ok as I am out of clothes!

    Draws are here


  • Saturday Success in Spain

    The Barcelona tournament came to an end yesterday, with finals played in most divisions followed by an awards ceremony.

    I won my singles over Carmen Chilleda from Madrid and was successful. The tournament had pretty glass trophies to go with prize money for the winners and losing finalists. For doubles three was a trophy.

    I watched Heide Orth play Michelle Bichon (Bichon won) with Ellen and Lutz Neumann, then packed to get ready for an early flight to Bordeaux where I play Monday.

    Adios Barcelona, Bon Jour Bordeaux.


  • Jeu de Paume, St. Chapelle, Wandering Paris

    I had an earlier start today (which means I made it to breakfast before they stopped serving at 10:30..jet lag is real). Fortified by eggs and pain au chocolat, I went first to the Jeu de Paume, a photography museum, where there was an interesting exhibit of the photographs of  Albert Renger-Patzsch titled “Les Choses” (The Things”). It was black and white from the 20th century and quite interesting, lots of use of geometry, repetition of mechanical things, lines in landscapes and contrast of past and present (light post on an empty street). 

    After the Jeu de Paume, I took the Metro to a shopping area near the Cite in the center of the city, and wandered around, looking at the shops. There seems to be a trend here towards patent leather tuxedo type shoes with bows, though I’ve only seem them in the shops…everyone else is wearing boots or sneakers, which are often black leather.

    I headed next on foot to St. Chapelle, which is near the Notre Dame Cathedral. It is next to the Palais du Justice and the signs are right next to each other. I got in what I though was the right line and asked the people next to me, who were British, if it was the line for the church or the palace. They were also going to the church and it was good I asked…we were all in a long line for the wrong building! The St. Chapelle is a beautiful church, not huge but very colorful. The top is all stained glass windows, each panel of which tells a story. It was built in the 13th century and was built in the courtyard  of the Royal Palace.

     

    After seeing the church, I wandered through the Latin Quarter where the creperies were vying with the gyros restaurants to see which was more prevalent…gyros I think. And everywhere there are fruit stands which offer squeeze your own orange juice…even the convenience stores offer it. I also have seen two competing bike share companies which are like Lime Bikes…leave them anywhere. I was tempted…but I walked. 

    I took a couple of trains back to see the Printemps department store, a big one like Galleries Lafayette, but more refined (no fun Christmas tree in the middle of the store!). However, it was fun to wander around and people watch.

    And that’s a wrap on Paris this trip.

     

     


  • Paris: Museum & Wandering

    Today I had a plan to go to the Musee d’Orsay and to find a Christmas market. I took the slow way to the museum, getting off the Metro about a mile from the museum which allowed me to wander past the Place de la Concorde (which has a huge Ferris Wheel now along with a column) and the edge of the Tuilleries gardens and walk across the Seine en route to the Musee.

    The Musee d’Orsay is a portrait and sculpture museum. It’s not a modern art museum, but instead has rooms of Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Pissaro and much more. I liked a lot of the paintings and spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering around the building. The building used to be a railway station and the big clock and curved ceiling reflects that. It was busy but the wait to buy a ticket was short and other than the Degas exhibit, the rooms were not overcrowded. 

    After I left the museum I walked to the Les Halles area, past the Louvre (which is huge!) I was trying to find a Christmas market and eventually I did. It wasn’t really all that impressive even though it’s apparently the largest in Paris. It had the usual stalls of food though with a French flair, which meant lots of cheese stalls, and not too many sausage and no gingerbread stalls that I saw. It was decorated nicely with twinkling lights above and on the Christmas trees, and there was a path lined by white trees leading to Santa (or so I assumed, I didn’t follow it).

    After leaving the fair, with some nice Tomme de Savoy cheese, I wandered around the Forum des Halles which is pretty much in the center of Paris. It was a bright and cheery mall with a Monoprix (sort of like a Target but with better food). I bought chocolate…Lindt, though Swiss, is featured predominantly here and there are lots of flavors one doesn’t see at home (pistachio, roasted sesame, etc).

    It was a pretty fun day and the weather hasn’t been too bad, in the 40s. Tomorrow I hope to get an early start for more museum going and shopping, the holidays make it very festive.

     

     


  • Biking the Loire, Chartres Cathedral, Dinner in Paris

    Tuesday was our last day in France and it was another busy one. We started with breakfast at a patisserie, followed by a bike ride about half as long as the one Monday, on the opposite side of the Loire. We wanted to try and view a chateau we’d seen from the opposite bank, up close. The ride was nice, not too many people and most of the way, no cars either. We passed by a cemetery, where many of the graves had ceramic bouquets and a parcours course with rowers and ellipticals in a small park.

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    We found the chateaux and an old wall but the chateaux was private, though a historical monument. The chateau as viewed by the opposite bank is below. I only had a small view of it up close.

     

    starred photos Chambourd and Blois-011starred photos Chambourd and Blois-101starred photos Chambourd and Blois-096Bike Ride Tuesday (17)

     

    We rode back to Blois, had lunch at the same patisserie and returned the bikes. I had the idea of touring the Blois castle, but we ran out of time, it is much larger than we realized. We saw only the exterior of the castle, below.

    starred photos Chambourd and Blois-008starred photos Chambourd and Blois-007

    We drove to Chartres which is renowned for it’s gothic cathedral, with flying buttresses (developed to hold up the wall so a very high ceiling could be built), the largest gothic cathedral in France. It’s also known for it’s beautiful stained glass windows which I found the highlight of the cathedral, they were gorgeous. We walked around the outside of the cathedral which had pedestrian streets, the centers of which held outdoor restaurants, with shops on either side.

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    Our next stop was Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris. We successfully returned the rental car and checked into our hotel (in reverse order), then took the bus into Paris for dinner. We ate at a hole in the wall near the Opera House, an Asian noodle house which also had the best potstickers I’ve had. Hannah lived in Paris for a semester and had eaten there frequently. We had to wait in line for a table…at 9pm! It was worth it and a nice way to end the day and the trip.

    paris starparis star-001paris star-002paris star-003paris star-010paris star-013paris star-015paris star-016paris star-017paris-024

    And that’s a wrap on this trip to Europe. It was fun despite some bumps along the way, most of which will be quickly forgotten (other than the state of the “deluxe” apartment in Bordeaux…that will just become one of those funny stories we’ll retell).


  • Bicycling Along the Loire to Chambourd

    Monday Erin, Hannah and I planned a bike ride to Chambourd Castle (Chateau de Chambourd, Loire-et-Cher, one of the grandest in France.

    It was around 20 kilometers to the castle, and of course I had to stop along the way to take a few photos. We rode on the opposite side of the river from Blois, so had a view of the church and chateau there just as we started out. We saw these chickens (they weren’t so close…I had a zoom) which looked very happy wandering in a garden, and a “small” chateau across the river. We went through a few small, picturesque towns too.

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    The castle was commissioned by Francois 1er of France and his initials and the salamanders that were his talisman are everywhere too. The château features 440 rooms, 282 fireplaces, and 84 staircases, but the central double helix staircase, which may have been designed by Leonardo DeVinci is the outstanding feature of the chateau. The castle was always meant as a hunting lodge, not as a fortress. It was built in the 1600s. Francoise 1er spent less than three months in the chateau during his lifetime, but did manage to host one of his rivals, King Charles V of Spain at Chambourd one time. Francoise 1er was called “big nose” for a reason.

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