Loire Valley Tour Review
Returning guest Bob Vonderohe traveled on his second tour with me to the Loire Valley from June 27-July 2, 2023. He wrote a review on our Trustpilot profile and emailed me a more detailed version of his comments and review of his tour experience, which I’m sharing below. Thank you, Bob! It is always a pleasure to have you and Pat on tour. I’m thrilled we could also cross paths in Provence after your Loire Valley tour to enjoy a glass of wine and reminisce about your first tour to Provence with us!
Bonjour mes amies,
I need to comment on our recent trip to Amboise and neighboring areas thanks to Off the Beaten Path.
First of all I must tell you that my overall rating is 5 stars plus. I haven’t had such a good time and learned so much, in quite a long while, thanks to Christy and her staff. How marvelous!
We started out the first day getting used to the hotel and immediate area, meeting new friends and then trucking off for a boat ride on the Loire. What a delightful ride with such wonderful company and scenery. Of course the wine didn’t hurt either! Somehow, my singing companion, Pat, and I managed to pull off singing “Soave” from Cosi fan tutte. Not sure the catfish in the river were ready for that, but we did it. No jeers from the gallery either!
I mentioned new friends and I must say our new friends Nancy and Judi from ‘Loooosianna’ were an absolute delight! As first I wasn’t sure about the drawl, but the more I was with them the more I liked it, and them! Somehow we seemed to fit in so many ways. I must say that the four of us, on the tour hit it off beautifully! How often does that happen?
Since this was primarily a ‘castle tour’, we did manage to see four castles, inside and out. The gardens were generally a delight and were usually surrounded by interesting magnificent trees. (I love to grow things!) It was hard for me to keep up with all the interesting lore associated with each castle but I was wide-eyed most of the time. I believe the most interesting to me was Chenonceau, the first we visited. Who knew that white used to be the color of mourning? Not moi! Who knew that the actual French language was more or less invented, in part to know who might be a ‘spy’ at court. And who thought that the women of the day had so much power, making decisions and arranging marriages? Fascinating!! Then again if you want to be fascinated, learn about the witches of the time and their ‘habits!’
In addition to the castles we made a few other journeys that were delightful! One was to Chateau de Montdomaine. This winery produces wonderful white wine which made our lunch there with Fred and Louisa perfect. During our stay we walked up the winding path to the top of the bluff to walk through the grape vines. Always a pleasure for me (I love to grow things!)
Another journey was a hands-on cooking class with Michelin-star chef, Damien. (Who said chocolate?) Yet another was to the residence of chef Christophe and wife Angelique, where we got our hands full of food again. In particular we helped Christophe make a beautiful pomme tart which we ate after a delightful dinner, and, of course, good wine!
I mentioned earlier Christy and her staff to whom we owe the entire experience. Where ever we went we were driven in a van by Christine, who is an absolutely delightful person and a wonderfully safe driver! Never a fear on the road there, thanks to her. And, in addition, she accompanied us on each of the tours, adding much to the fellowship we all enjoyed!! Thanks, Christine!!
And so last, but not least, Christy! One could not ask for a more charming and informative hostess. I’m still amazed at her knowledge of the history there, the ins and outs of court life, the interaction of the rois and their courts, and in particular what gigantic parts the women of the time played in all of that part of history. How could she do it so beautifully? I don’t know but she did and I’m still reveling in that flow of history. What a wonderful fount of knowledge!! Kudos to you Christy. You made it all the more delightful.
So I don’t go on too long, let me reiterate my 5+ star rating for an absolutely delightful adventure, with truly wonderful people!!
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