Saturday, 2 June 2012

Le Floret and Azay-le-Ridau

Hello from a lovely warm and sunny France.  I am thoroughly enjoying my time here and have loved driving through the countryside, taking back roads and going through lovely villages.

It's always exciting to be travelling to the next destination and after Avignon, that was a little village called Le Floret.  The drive was very pleasant and we stopped a number of times to take photos of things that interested us.  I had thought I would miss seeing any lavender in bloom in France but were lucky enough to see this field almost in bloom.  

Shortly before we stopped for the lavender photo, we had to pass this group of cyclists.  The looked very serious and intent as we drove buy.  It's always a bit scary passing cyclists, I'm always worried we'll accidentally bump them.

I'm still taking photos of shutters and these pretty blue ones caught my eye as did this 2CV car.

 We saw this interesting rock formation on the edge of a village called Alba la Romaine.

 During the day we drove through more mountainous country seeing the odd castle ruin and then down into lush dairy country.  Here are some of the photos we took.

The village of Le Floret was a delight and positioned next to a river just over the road from our hotel.  We went to sleep listening to the river, a novel experience for me.  Usually it's possums jumping and thudding on our roof.  Here are some photos of the village and the river.
Hotel bedroom window view.
A view of the village from the top of the hill where an old church is sited.

 After leaving Le Floret we dropped in to see the village of Volvic, the reason being Genevieve told us that Volvic bottled water was the nicest bottled water she had tried in France.  To get to the source of the water would take a 3 hour hike so we decided to go on to the next village Champeix for coffee.
Writing down the names of the villages we had visited so I wouldn't forget.
 By this time we realised we still had a long way to travel to our next destination and had to push on without too many breaks.  The area we drove through was very rural with villages about every 5 or 6 km apart sometimes only 1 km apart, at the most 10.  With low speed limits much of the way, our journey took what seemed forever.  We finally arrived at Azay-le-Ridau, grateful to stretch our legs.
 
The next day was a rest day (from driving that is) and we took the opportunity to visit Chateau Villandry nearby.  Only a small portion of the interior was open to the public with the rooms having beautiful displays of fresh cut flowers.  The main attraction for me was the gardens, they were breathtakingly beautiful in a very organised and formal way.  We spent nearly 2 hours in the gardens alone.  Here are some of the photos we took of the interiors and the gardens.  Once again, photos can't do justice to the beauty of the gardens.

 There were vases of fresh flowers in every room.  Just gorgeous.
It's my plan to use this photo for a still life painting in the future.
Now for some garden photos.
Vegetable gardens.  These were lettuces withing the borders of other plants.

Through the trellis.  I'm having a bit of artistic fun with my photos here and there.
Check the size of this poppy.

We had the best time wandering around marvelling at the structure of the chateau and admiring the gardens.  Nine gardeners are employed to take care of them.

I am writing this post from Brittany which is what my next post will be all about.

Until then, take care and thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Anne  xx







5 comments:

Claire said...

Oh Anne, the Chateau and it's gardens are amazing.....I think I could keep 9 gardeners busy just weeding in my garden at the moment, hehe....

Love the blue shutters and car.......and glad you got to see some Lavender...

Stunning pics once again, so glad you're having a wonderful time....
Bit of a gloomy morning here, but I'm sure the sun will make an appearance at some stage......going to be about 15deg. heaters cranked up and crochet at the ready....

Claire x

Annaboo said...

Just beautiful!
I love your photos- they really capture the amazing countryside and wonderful sights.
Enjoy your holiday.
X

VintageVicki said...

Am loving all the pics from your grand european tour but these ones are very special. Many years ago before children, MrVV & I spent a couple of weeks in that area so many of the landmarks are very familiar :)

I still have a soft spot for 2CV'S :)

Little Blue Mouse said...

Lovely photos, those gardens are amazing!

Catherine said...

Hello Anne..I am just catching up on you again I got a little behind...I'll have to run faster! I love all your posts!!! I can't believe you've managed to find the time to write like you have..thank you for the vicarious journey, so wonderful. You'll be so pleased to come home & review such great posts I'm sure. Much love & safe travels. Thanks for the food update..interesting. Much love Catherine x0x0x