Blois - Melo Vélo Meanderings - CycleBlaze

June 6, 2018 to June 7, 2018


I booked an Airbnb to spend 3 nights in Blois - for rest, laundry and castle exploration.  Wednesday was a cloudy and mostly soggy day, continuing the run of rainy days in this section of the Loire Valley.  After breakfast, I stopped in the Tourist Information office to see about buses to the Chambord and Cheverny, the two castles I was most interested in visiting. I quickly found that my options were limited due to infrequent bus service this time of year. The best advice was to go the Cheverny Wednesday afternoon and Chambord Thursday afternoon.  In the meantime, I visited the Blois Chateaux, which was just across the way.

The Blois Chateaux was constructed over a period of five centuries or so, with successive Lords and Kings changing the castle to adhere to their own personal taste.  There is a large central courtyard surrounded by buildings showcasing four major periods of French architecture - Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance, and Classic.

Gothic wing of Blois Castle, constructed by Louis XII (1498-1500)
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Renaissance Wing constructed by Francis I, 1515-1518
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The Classic Wing constructed by Gaston d'Orléans, 1635-1648
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After touring the castle, I stopped by the local bike shop for some supplies and local info, then it was off to the butcher and cheese shop to stock up the pantry.  The day was quite gloomy, and rather than make the trip out to Cherverny, I booked a massage for later that afternoon.  And what a treat that was - 75 minutes of bliss.  It was unlike any massage I'd ever had, including some yoga breathing, meditative moments, and even acupressure, I think.  In any case, I walked out of there feeling wonderful and knowing I had made the correct choice!  With my heart content and body at ease, I walked headlong into a rainshower and was soaked by the time I made it back home.

Clouds and drizzle looking south from Blois Castle
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Jeanie RedickMassage sounded wonderfully perfect!!!
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6 years ago
Susan CarpenterTo Jeanie RedickSublime!
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6 years ago
A bit brighter view of Blois Castle from South Blois, on my way to massage bliss. By the time I headed back to Blois, the skies had opened and there was a pretty significant rain shower. River is running pretty strong and a bit high - I spotted at least one detour on the bike path
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Thursday promised brighter weather, so the trip to Chambord was on!  First order of the day was a bath and lube for Vivien George, then off to catch the 30 min bus to Chambord - a great deal at 2€.  I rented a bicycle to tour the grounds, but would not recommend this as there is not much to see.  After lunching on the grounds, I returned the bike and began the tour of the chateau and gardens.  I decided to purchase the "histopad" audio guide to help me through some of the 440 rooms.  Though some on travel forums commented that the histopad was a total waste, I found it to be fairly useful and added some context to the visit. It had gps tracking so it knew where you were and what rooms you had visited.  This alleviated the need to follow a designated course through the maze of rooms and spaces, and you were free to roam, or not.  Another cool thing was the "time travel" feature.  In some rooms, you could hover the histopad over a golden disk and you could travel back in time and see what the room looked like in the 1500's.  Even without an electronic guide, the interior and exterior spaces of the castle are impressive in their enormity.

Picnic spot on the grounds of Chambord Domain.
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The gardens of Chambord Chateau
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I was quite intrigued to see one of the most characteristic features of the castle - the double helix, or double spiral, central staircase. The two spirals each climb the three floors of the castle and never meet - meaning that people can go up and down at the same time, but never see each other.  It makes a bit more sense in pictures than in real life, but I bought a 3D puzzle that I'm sending to Carla so she can put it together and explain it to me when I get back to Paris.  Another interesting tidbit, according to Wikipedia, are suggestions that the staircase may have been designed by Leonardo Da Vinci, though this is not confirmed.

Double helix staircase
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Melodee WalkerKamiah & I toured Chambord when we visited the Loire region. I thought this stairway was quite amazing.
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6 years ago
Charmaine RuppoltInteresting -- I've never heard/seen of a double helix staircase...
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1 year ago
Staircase Puzzle for Carla
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My mini-break is ending and I'm off to Loches tomorrow where I'll be staying with another WarmShowers family.  

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