The Loire valley is filled with castles all along the river. We made the town called Tours our first base from which to bike to some of the chateaux in the area.

Tours is a university town so each night students buzz in the bars and bistros, turning the sleepy village of the day into a vibey centre in the evenings. Medieval taverns line the cobblestone streets giving much to choose from.  

 The traditional old French halftimbered houses still in use today. Some of them are slanting to the sides, seeming as if they would topple over but somehow still stand. 

The traditional old French halftimbered houses still in use today. Some of them are slanting to the sides, seeming as if they would topple over but somehow still stand. 

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One of the restaurants in this square is Bouchon Tourangeau. The delightfully excentric waiter added some entertainment to the evening as we watched him making jokes with visitors. The highlight was when he made a steak tartar blend to the client's liking right at the table next to us. One of the people at the table remarked in French that it was just like his grandma used to make. Our dinner turned into an adventure. 

The traditional menu was exactly what I needed, and all I couldn't find in Paris. My partner ordered a starter of escargot in a olive oil, herb and garlic sauce that was perfect for dipping my baguette in. I had a salad with local goat's cheese, special to the Loire and then we both had boeuf bourguignon with wines of the area and finished with some perfect gelato in our chosen flavors. So rich and creamy. I think France ruined all othe rice cream for me now that I have tried the best.

Biking to Villandry

The next morning we woke up to the church bells ringing and rented some bikes. The route is simple to follow and indicated at every turn along the river to Villandry. The road was mostly shaded by forest trees and passes some stony farm houses and fields.

 The view of the church towers from our room

The view of the church towers from our room

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Everyone on the route were in a cheerful mood and greeted us with either a bonjour or a bicycle bell. The road is just like characters in the film Call Me by your Name used to travel between towns, which made it a bit more romantic for couples.

 Resting just before entering the town ahead.

Resting just before entering the town ahead.

 Villandry across the river

Villandry across the river

It is spring in the Northern hemisphere, so flowers were in full bloom. From time to time butterflies would come fluttering by and try to keep up alongside the bicycles as dandelions float in the wind. Smells of mint, pine and flowers was a fresh relief from the city.

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The chateau of Villandry has an amazing garden and each section has a theme. My favorite was the squares representing four types of love. (Tender love, passion, flightly love and tragic love).

 Riding up to the chateau we were greeted with this sight over the hedges

Riding up to the chateau we were greeted with this sight over the hedges

 Love garden in the front

Love garden in the front

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 The vegetable garden of the chateau

The vegetable garden of the chateau

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If you like this article, why not check out my other biking trip in Belgium from Namur to Dinant.

I was reminded of my favorite scenes from Call me by your name. It is a great film and the setting felt so similar to what we saw here while biking. See trailer below:

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