Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Lloyd Tour de France Day Two

We hopped on our bicycles slightly less enthusiastically this morning. It was not raining and we were all extraordinarily grateful for that small miracle. I had spent the morning blow drying our shoes and the sleeves of my under jacket so we could start the day dry. When we arrived home the previous night we devoured three pizzas without much discussion and retired for the night. This morning we were ravenous again and hit the boulangerie first.

Tom and I were hearing various body parts speak to us. The children seemed oblivious to pain. Today we wore our backpacks because we were moving from Blois to Amboise. After about half an hour, Julia and I bungee strapped our backpacks to the rack in back of the bicycle. This was MUCH more comfortable. After about an hour and a half, Tom stuffed his into the panniers. By the time we reached the chateau, Rhys had rigged his rack so two backpacks hung off the sides like panniers and we all were no longer carrying packs on our backs. It’s the shoulders.

The Chaumont Chateau was quite lovely, situated right on the Loire River. It was built in the 1100’s as a defensive structure and revised around the 1500’s. Its claim to fame is the gossip surrounding it. Diane de Poitiers was a lovely lady who became the king’s mistress. He set her up in a gorgeous chateau called Chenonceau, situated in the Loire Valley. She had an eye for d├ęcor and fixed the place up well until it was generally acknowledged to be the most beautiful (like her). Meanwhile, Catherine de Medici was the king’s wife. She was a powerful lady with many connections. She bided her time until the king died and then gently suggested Diane might want to trade Chenonceau for Catherine’s less lovely, Chaumont. Diane moved into Chaumont, proving she was not stupid.

Chaumont had nobles living in it until the late 19th century. One of the wings showed the way it had looked when Catherine and Diane would have lived there and one showed how it had been renovated for the family in the 19th century. My favourite room was the “princess’ bedroom” which had a gorgeous view out over the river and cute little turret rooms in the corner. It had pink fabric on the upper part of the walls and lavender paint covering the wainscoting and truly looked like a room for a princess.

As we strolled back to our bicycles, Tom and I shared a sad moment of realization that we were going to have to force our bodies back onto the damn bicycles. Another two and a half hours of torture brought us to Amboise. Did I mention the children were in fine form?