Before Mr Moi and I embarked on our ‘adventure’ of living in a foreign country with a foreign language and foreign writing with totally foreign people, we went on a detour. Instead of heading straight to the land of pork and cabbage, we hopped aboard the EuroStar in London, hopped off in Paris, picked up a car and started a month-long camping-and-B&B-ing adventure around the grand Republic of France.
Imagine the country of France. We more or less drove in a circle around it.
But early on in our adventures, we found the place we loved the best – the Loire Valley. The valley of the kings. And fantastic wine and fizz. In particular, we developed a partiality to the Touraine region, with its amazing Chateaux and delcious wine (not to mention the abundance of Troglodytes and the Mushroom Museum).
We camped in a small town called Blere, about 8kms from Amboise. And we loved the region so much, we kept delaying our departure.
Amboise is about 20kms from the city of Tours. It’s a lovely, tourist-friendly town in the Touraine region. The streets are narrow and quaint, some are pedestrianised, there are markets on the weekends, and, to top it off, the whole area is a very famous wine region.
One of its claims to fame is that it’s the home to the Chateau d’Amboise, where King Francois I grew up. Amboise is also the place where Leonardo Da Vinci spent the last years of his life.
So, we had very fond memories of our time in Amboise. Fast forward six months, and we’d settled in Ukraine, when I met Mind the Gap, who, it so happens, was preparing for her wedding to a froggy from the Touraine region. And fast forward a year from then, and Mr Moi and I were on our way to said wedding, in Amboise.
So once again, we were on a wild and wonderful wine drinking tour, making significant stops in such places as the Chateau de Pray in Charge, and the Plou et Fils winery, where we were treated to a personal tour of the caves, bursting full of delicious vins.
All in all, the Loire Valley region is a beautiful part of France, and no so choked with tourists from the english speaking countries as to disguise the flavour and timbre of everyday life there.
However, on the weekends, it is choked full of tourist-type Parisians who’ve come down for a couple of days of R&R.
But I have to go back you see. Because the last time I was there for the wedding, my state of pregnancy dictated that I didn’t get full enjoyment from the fruit of the land (i.e. the wine).
Well, said married friends now have a house in the region, so I’ll be knocking on their door in the future.