Yesterday, we went on our first excursion to some châteaus. We visited two: Château Chambord and Château de Blois. Château Chambord was out deep in the French country side while Château de Bloise was, true to its name, in the quaint town Bloise.
As we were driving to the respective destinations, I had something of a revelation. France and Italy are known for their excellence in art. And I realized why. Feel free to agree or agree with me.
We were driving along the French country side and while I would normally nap through the bus ride, I couldn’t bring myself to close my eyes. I’m not much of a country girl (besides listening to Carrie Underwood here and there), but the landscapes that we were driving through were paintings within themselves. We weren’t just seeing repetitive corn fields or expanses of nothingness, we were seeing asymmetrical patches of gold and scarlet and bronze that were perfectly or not-so-perfectly aligned with vineyards. Sometimes we passed along the Loire River, with little French villages lining it, or sometimes we passed great expanses of wildflowers that looked like ocean waves, blowing in the breeze.
French art is beautiful because these French artists had and have something beautiful to look at.
Normally, I hate the in-between traveling from departure to destination, but this time around, the getting-there was more valuable to me than the actual castles. Not to say the castles weren’t beautiful too.
For one thing, you don’t find a château just plopped in one of our cities in America. Chambord was more in the middle of nowhere, but I loved the architecture. I think it was supposed to be a château in the Gothic tradition, but there were also hints of Byzantine/Ottoman influence, because of the touches of blue marble and the sheer number of scattered towers. (Think Aladdin, Hogwarts).
From an aesthetic standpoint, I like Chambord a lot more, but in terms of concept and history, Blois is quite unique. Blois was a work that progressed throughout the ages, reflecting the Renaissance, Gothic, Classic, and Medieval styles – essentially a resumé of all four. Blois also had a really beautiful garden just past the courtyard. Both had some of the coolest spiral staircases I had ever seen (the ultimate prom pictures).
And to explain the title of this post “Cat Water,” split Château into “Chat” and Eau” which mean “Cat” and “Water,” respectively. TAKE THAT.
The weather decided to be indecisive…
Your token artsy through-the-window shot
Château de Blois
If you wanted to know, in terms of food, our host families packed us sandwiches. Yay!!