Tuesday, April 18, 2017

March Wanderings - Chateau de Beaulieu and other discoveries

Just upriver of Saumur, on the Loire River's left bank, the Chateau de Beaulieu (literally, "beautiful location') graces the gentle slope leading down to the water. It is privately owned and I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to see it. But I rode up on my bike and was pleased to see the sign indicating it functions as a Bed&Breakfast. (Here's their website.) So I got my nerve up, strode in, and was greeted by a great big Irishman, who had at least 6 inches on me in height as well as plenty of pounds, and maybe 2 decades in age. He was the chatelain, the proud owner, and has lived there for the last 13 years with his wife. He is also a retired physicist and his business card had a lot of impressive initials after his name. To top it off, he is a great story teller and all around tremendously friendly guy.
A few guests were leaving as I arrived. Once they were on their way he took me back to the dining room, his wife brought us coffee and cookies and we chatted for an hour. The experience was a great surprise and a real treat. I'm definitely staying there next time I go back to the area.

Scattered around the countryside are all sorts of "lesser" chateaux, some of which don't even show up on maps. This is one reason I wanted to be on a bicycle, to be able to explore and see a little deeper into the shadows.
The first of the pictures below is the Manoir de Launay, NOT one of the "lesser", it is of great historical importance. But it is privately owned and open to the public only at limited times during the summer. So unfortunately I was not able to go in.
Manoir de Launay
Just a few minutes away, this nameless gem peeks over its boundary walls. Again, it being privately owned, I was not able to go in. It was surrounded by working farm buildings and appeared to be lived in as part of the farm.

Last, another nameless gem, hidden behind some hedges.

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