Tag Archives: Castle

Like Shooting Chateaux in the Loire

Chenonceau

Château de Chenonceau

With hundreds of châteaux dotting France’s sprawling Loire Valley, finding one is easier than shooting fish in a barrel. Choosing which of the magnificent dwellings to visit, and which to leave for another time, is a far harder task. Here’s how we managed to decide.

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The Château-Going Begins

Chateau de la Roche Courbon, France

We couldn’t resist.

We had resolved that our château-going wouldn’t begin until we reached the Loire Valley, where we planned to unleash our energy, enthusiasm, and admission dollars. In that enchanted land of lavish castles, we had old favorites to return to and a lengthy list of new places to seek out.

And yet there we were, heading through the countryside in France’s Poitou-Charentes region a few hours south of the Loire Valley. All it took was a recommendation from an area resident and a glance at a glossy brochure flaunting a large, exquisite-looking castle accented with round, turreted towers and a sprawling formal garden at its feet. We were in the car faster than you can say magnifique.

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Authentically Out of Place and Time

Castello di Amorosa, Napa Valley, California

Castello di Amorosa

The world is better for eccentrics; the artists, entertainers, scientists and imaginers who see things no one before ever did and, by virtue of their vision, take the world in a direction it never previously knew existed. Eccentricity is also the reason you can tour an authentic 12th-century Tuscan castle in California’s Napa Valley.

Quibblers will no doubt deem the previous sentence a non sequitur. A Tuscan castle cannot, by definition, exist in California. Nor can this particular castle, completed in 2007, be described as 12th century. Yet, in important ways, it is both those things, and authentically so.

So what gives?

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