Remember the movie “Planes, Trains & Automobiles”? That was pretty much the majority of our day and we’re all pretty grumpy. Chartres Cathedral was the highlight of our day. The stained glass windows were beaming due to the amazing, bright sunlight we were lucky to get.
After the final bus ride to Tours, we’ve finally sat down to dinner.
Our 3-course dinner started with bacon-wrapped warm goat cheese on a garden salad. The conversation went like this:
Student: “What kind of cheese is this?”
Teacher: “Try it first, then I’ll tell you.”
Other student: “It’s goat cheese, isn’t it?”
*Students react in various ways*
End result: Everyone tried it, but there was a lot of cheese left on the plate.
Time for sleep! We’re exhausted but looking forward to a fun-filled day tomorrow.
Today is our second day in France. In the morning we visited the Chapel of Marie the of the Incarnation (which is the patron saint of the Caps) and then in the afternoon we went to two different château’s around the area of Tours.
The chapel was gorgeous. It was early 15th century architecture that was still in almost pristine condition. The stone and brick was beautiful. When one of the sisters opened the door to the patio it took my breath away. The sight of all of the beautiful historical architecture mixed with the vines and flowers growing was a uniquely magnificent view for me. I don’t think I have ever seen something like it. The sisters talked to and taught us about Marie of the Incarnation. She, along with two of her companions, were the first women missionaries ever to cross the Atlantic into Canada. This fact was absolutely fascinating to me because service is something many of us are passionate about and for a woman to undergo that type of journey alone was a dangerous & challenging task. She forged on and as a result founded a church and school for girls in Canada. The sisters that we met today were so kind and generous to us. We loved them so much and cannot speak highly enough of them!!
The first château we visited today was Villandry, which has world famous beautiful gardens. The flowers were all different shapes, sizes, textures, etc. All of the girls and I were amazed by the fact that the gardeners had trained the apple trees to grow sideways along a horizontal rail. The owners, the Carvallo’s, still live on the property to the day and can even sometimes be seen touring the gardens. When Joachim Carvallo bought the château in 1906, he restored the Renaissance gardens. One of my personal favorite gardens was The Ornamental Garden, which is easily seen from any room in the château and is nicknamed “the love garden.” Each section of the garden was made to represent a different type of love: tender love, passionate love, flighty love, and tragic love.
The second château we visited today was the Château de Chenonceau. It was built on the River Cher in the 16th century. We walked through a beautiful gallery with black and white checked slate-tile floors. This gallery was built by Catherine de’ Medici as a magnificent ballroom. We went through multiple other rooms including the kitchen, a few living rooms, and a guards room. We learned about the history behind the château and each of the pieces of the paintings. For example, Henri II gifted Chenonceau to his favorite official mistress, Diane de Poitiers. It wasn’t big enough for her so she had the gardens created and had the famous bridge over the River Cher built, making the architecture of Chenonceau unique to the world. After the death of Henri II, his wife and the Queen of France, Catherine de’ Medici removed Diane de Poitiers from the château because I mean who wants to live with their dead husband’s mistress longer than necessary? The gardens at Chenonceau are completely natural (no pesticides or chemicals of any kind). In fact, when they had a problem with snails they brought in hedge hogs to eat the snails and keep the flowers safe.
Today was another amazing day in France!! Keep following the blog for more château’s and fun tomorrow!!