Tuesday, September 13, 2016
13.09.2016 - 14.09.2016
Interesting start to the morning. Sue e-mailed asking for an updated Membership List. I finally found it on my spare hard drive and sent it to her. They all have a copy so this shouldn’t be happening. Thank goodness I brought the spare hard drive. Then Jean e-mailed and couldn’t find our itinerary. I tried sending it twice and both times the Internet crashed. The connection here is terrible. I gave up and we left for Château Montsoreau.
Our GPS got us there with only one minor problem when a road in Saumur was closed for road work. We got around that and drove to the Château in Montsoreau. Had no trouble parking on the road beside the Château and got our tickets. We have discount tickets and I forgot them yet again. Sigh . . .
A tour is not required, so we got right in. The inside has been whitewashed and is filled with a modern art exposition; there is no furniture, family paintings, heraldry, just a few paintings and some very minimalist installations. The views of the Loire from the windows on one side, and troglodyte homes on the other were much nicer than the exhibits. On the other hand, there was an exhibit involving fun-house type mirrors so I got a photo of us which is difficult when traveling alone. We look a little odd in the wavy mirrors, but it is us and we are there. The views from the rooftop are fabulous. It's well worth the climb. Château de Montsoreau web site
We looked at the nearby Logis for lunch but it didn’t have a very appealing menu so we set off for Fontevraud Abbey to find a restaurant. Fontevraud is becoming very tourist oriented. They even have a huge parking lot across from the Abbey. We parked and walked toward the Abbey entrance and immediately saw a little bar-restaurant with souris d’agneau, a big favorite of mine. Ed checked and found a couple things he liked and a table in the shade so we settled in at Le Comptoir des Vins. [2 Place des Plantagenêts, 49590 Fontevraud] I got my souris and Ed got confit de canard. Both were excellent. I got a salad and potatoes gratin with roasted garlic and shallots, and Ed got two small bowls of vegetables with his duck. We both ordered fondant au chocolat for dessert and both got moelleux but it was excellent. Great lunch but they wouldn’t take our credit card. Annoying.
We crossed to the Abbey, bought our tickets and entered. It has changed greatly in ten years and more so in twenty. We visited in 1996, 2006 and now in 2016 so we’ll have to return in ten years! The entire entry is new with a nice gift store. They’ve added a lot of video presentations (French with English subtitles) and a couple interactive features that were great fun, including one that let you “paint” a section of the church with colored lights. Ed had to drag me away from that one. Another exhibit let you play with Legos and another had all kinds of wheels you could turn and buttons to push to activate the huge model of the abbey. We had fun! (I've put some photos of 1996, 2006 and 2016 at the bottom of this installment.)
They’ve opened up many new sections and have a terrace with drinks and snacks where we stopped for bottles of water. It’s really hot! A few raindrops just made it more humid. There is also a restaurant that I think has a Michelin star. At any rate it is supposed to be excellent. I didn't check the prices but they probably match the quality. Fontevraud Abbey web site
Left the Abbey and walked to Proxi market to get t.p., cheese and a melon. Then walked to the boulangerie for bread. Drove home via A85 passing a giant horse sculpture that turned out to be "Archeval" by Christian Renonciat and at 12 meters high, the largest equestrian statue in the world. Then, fighting the deviation (detour) in Saumur, we wound our way home and now Ed is doing the laundry while I write. Rain is promised tomorrow. We watched a crazy French movie and finished the laundry. Our gite actually has a dryer. Considering the weather lately, this is a good thing.
For some interesting history here are photos of Fontevraud Abbey taken in 1996, in 2006 and in 2016. With luck I'll take more in 2026.