Monday 23 September 2013

Photographing Sunflowers

Michaela and Derrick from Connecticut did a day trip with us in late August. They were on their honeymoon and the tour had been a surprise wedding present. All they knew was that they would be picked up from their chateau hotel near Amboise at 9 am on a particular day.

We had designed a typical tour visiting chateaux and gardens, driving through picturesque countryside and lunching at a small restaurant frequented by the locals, tucked away in a side street. We hadn't been given much to go on by their friend who booked the tour, so we hoped we had chosen sites they would be interested in. What we didn't know until we met them was that they had bought themselves a new digital SLR camera for the honeymoon, and were still enthusiastically learning how to use it.

Derrick in photographer mode in front of the sunflowers.
One of the things they really wanted to photograph was a field of sunflowers, but they had noticed on their way to the chateau hotel the day before that the sunflowers were almost finished. As soon as they mentioned this to us, we started taking routes where we were fairly sure we would be able to find sunflowers still looking photogenic. Our familiarity with the area paid off, and not only were Michaela and Derrick able to get their sunflower shots, they got to eat wild blackberries for the first time, straight off the bush!

If you have something you really want to see in the Loire Valley and would like the extra flexibility that booking a tour with us gives you, email us and we can make sure your special wish comes true.

Friday 13 September 2013

Remembering the Great War A Hundred Years On

Many of our clients combine visiting Paris with shorter side trips.  They often take advantage of the great train service to Tours and come to the Loire Valley, but they often also go to the north of France to see the historic First World War sites. We've had quite a few clients fit both side trips into their itinerary. If they are American or from any of the Commonwealth countries, the chances are they have a relative who saw action up north, so the visit has real significance to them.
Visiting the cemeteries is a sobering and moving experience. We know. We've done it. The impact of the War on the countryside is clear to see, and many places evoke strong emotions. But have you ever wondered how the First World War impacted on the rest of France? With the hundredth anniversary of the War coming up in 2014, we will be thinking of life in France in 1914, and how it changed.

If you have an interest in this period of history, but want to see more than the Front Line Zone, we can incorporate information and sites of relevance to your tour of the Loire Valley. For example, the Loire Valley was in what was referred to as the Intermediate Zone and the famous chateau of Chenonceau was a convalescent hospital. Hundreds of thousands of troops, French and Allies, passed through camps in this area on their way to or from the Front. Email us if you would like to book a tour and learn more. (Note that we don't organise tours in northern France, only in the Loire Valley.)

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Article in French Online News

We often take clients to visit the fascinating underground world of the mushroom caves at Bourré. The family who own the former quarry switched from stone to mushrooms when they needed some alternative means of making an income. Once there were hundreds of these mushroom growing businesses, but now they are rare.
We wrote a post on our other blog about the caves, which has been picked up and republished in French Online News. You can read the article here.

If you would like us to organise a day that includes a visit to the mushroom caves, email us and we will be delighted to put together one of our food and wine tours for you.