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27 Sep 2018

Loire WOTY - Photos etc

8th – 15th September - Trip to Honfleur and Loire Valley

16 of us made our way, via the Channel Tunnel and Ferry respectively, arriving at our Hotel in Honfleur for a two night stay before moving onto the Loire Valley for a further four nights arranged by Scenic Car Tours. En-route to Honfleur several of us met up in the pretty coastal resort of Le Touquet for lunch, finding a restaurant on the seafront.
The sun was shining and this continued for the rest of the week with lovely weather – sunscreen and hats definitely needed! Our Hotel in Honfleur was perfectly situated at the entrance to this charming town with its picturesque port lined with restaurants which were just a five minute walk.
We had arranged a group meal at one of these restaurants for Saturday evening and enjoyed our first taste of French cuisine. On our way back to the Hotel, Andrew, Gail, Wayne, Theresa, Graham, Jean and yours truly decided to be very brave and take a 5 euro ride on the Ferris wheel by the side of the Port to finish off the evening.
The next day everyone did their own thing, we decided to visit Pegasus Bridge and the D-Day Landing Museum which was very interesting and also a bit emotional as well.
Bidding farewell to the Mecure Hotel we departed Monday morning for the 208 mile drive (or 233 for those who opted to take the scenic route through the Suisse Normande region) to The Relais des Landes Hotel at Ouchchamps in the Loire where we met up with Andrew and Chris who had travelled from the UK that morning to make our group complete.
The Hotel, a 17th century mansion which was transformed from a family home to a Hotel in 1975, was set in a 20 hectare park with a covered swimming pool. Our rooms were large and comfortable with super bathrooms and many overlooked the gardens. We gathered in the bar before enjoying our welcome evening meal which was laid out in a large Conservatory.
Tuesday dawned very hot and a free day for all with many options to chose from. Amboise and Blois, both nearby towns with their own Chateau’s and shops, seemed to be a popular choice for many, with others visiting Chateau Villandry plus trying wine tasting in the local Caves. Wayne had very kindly arranged for us to eat together in a Restaurant in the nearby village of Veuves, and on arrival we were greeted by our Hostess and shown to our table which was set out in the garden. There were several local people dining there which is always a good sign and we enjoyed a leisurely convivial evening.
The next day we departed in convoy to the spectacular Chateau de Chennonceau. Andrew had his drone in action and photographed us going down the Hotel drive. This Chateau, which is the most visited and photographed in the Loire and spans the River Cher is often described as the “Ladies Chateau” as three very strong women have influenced its design and destiny throughout history (girl power reigned even back then!).
After a group photo we all explored the Chateau and gardens, with many of having lunch before departing mid afternoon back to the Hotel to cool down, have a swim or take a nap before dinner. Thursday and another free day, Chris and Rhian Wyatt joined us for a visit to the Zoo de Park in Beauval which turned out to be the best Zoo we have ever visited and famous for a family of Giant Pandas.
Once again Wayne had arranged for us to eat at a typical French restaurant at Chaumont-Sur-Loire that evening and most of us agreed it was the best meal of the holiday. Friday arrived all too soon and we said our goodbyes as several couples were moving onto other destinations in France to extend their holiday while 8 of us made our way to Caen to catch the 11pm overnight Ferry back to Portsmouth.
On reflection a great time had been had by all, with lovely scenery and weather, good Hotels, and above all great company. Here’s to the next one!

The photos!

A few select photos and a video of a convoy leaving for another visit to a Chateau

Leaving to go to a Chateau

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