I'll give you a few more of my 2003 photos of Chambord this morning because I haven't yet had time to process the photos I took yesterday. We drove from Saint-Aignan up to Chambord under threatening skies, but as Evelyn said in her comment on yesterday's post we actually had very little rain. At Chambord, we parked and walked onto the château grounds to take some photos. The sun came out from behind the clouds as we walked around the huge building and took pictures. Evelyn and I shared and compared memories of previous visits to Chambord, of what we saw, and who we were with. Esta had never been to Chambord before and was impressed with its size and grandeur.
It was about an hour-long stop and we had a little trouble finding the car in the big parking lot when the time came to move on. We weren't more than 25 steps from the car after I spotted it, though, when a hard, cold rain started falling. We hurried to get in and as we hit the road the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started. We drove on to Blois, but we didn't stop to take photos there. We just admired the town's cathedral, the château, and the impressive St-Nicolas church from across the river. It was getting close to noon, and I had made a 12:30 reservation for lunch at a little restaurant in Vouvray, 50 kilometers (30 miles) downriver on the right bank of the Loire. We also wanted to visit a favorite winery there to taste and then buy some wine.
By the time we got to Vouvray, it was one o'clock but it didn't matter — there were a dozen or so people having lunch on the restaurant's outdoor seating area and we were welcomed in despite our tardiness. We decided it was a little breezy and chilly to eat outside — not to mention the risk of a sudden rain shower — so we asked for a table inside. There were maybe a dozen tables in the dining room, and a bar. We were the only customers eating in there, so it felt safe and pleasant. The food was really good, and the price for three of us, with a glass or two each of wine each, was just over 50 euros. The first-course salads were fresh and tasty, and the main course — a sauté de bœuf in a flavorful gravy with sauteed potatoes and some garlicky green beans — was delicious. It was such a large serving that not one of the three of us could actually "clean our plate." Just thinking about it this morning makes me hungry again.
After lunch, we drove past the house in Vouvray that Walt and rented for vacations back in the years 2000 and 2001. It's no longer rented out to vacationers but somebody obviously lives there. The reason we ended up coming to live in the Loire Valley in 2003 was because we had so enjoyed those vacations in the region. Then we went on to the winery we had discovered back in October 2000 to buy a few bottles of Vouvray's famous Chenin Blanc wine. We were surprised (Evelyn had been there before, back in 2006) to see that the tasting room has been completely remodeled. It used to be very rustic and old-fashioned, and now it is very sleek and modern.
I bought a mixed carton (six bottles for 40 euros) of different Vouvray still wines and vintages. I asked the young woman who presided over our tasting and had looked up my account in her computer if she could see in the database when my last visit had been. Yes, she said. It was in 2013. I was stunned. I can't believe it was so long ago. The last eight years, with all my trips to North Carolina when my mother's health was failing and then she passed away, plus our four or five road trips in France, and then the last two years of confinements and travel restrictions, have really been a blur.