Chasing Rainbows in Amboise
Amboise is a small market town on the Loire. It is also the site of the Chateau d’Amboise, which was the royal residence in the 15th and 16th Centuries. Judy and I spent an entire day in early September exploring Amboise by foot, but left much unseen. In fact we never even made it inside the Chateau, but seeing it just from the outside provided quite an eyeful.
The Chateau visually dominates the town, which grew up in its shadow. The castle went into decline after the construction of Versailles, and was eventually turned into a prison.
Amboise is clearly a popular vacation spot. It has many restaurants and other businesses catering to tourists, French and foreign. When we were there it had a relaxed, holiday atmosphere that reminded me of resort towns in western Michigan – but with a castle and medieval streets.
Bigot is a sweet shop attracting many tourists, all of whom leave very happy. We might have stopped there for a snack, I can’t remember.
For people who like narrow lanes, Amboise is a good place to visit. In this area they are lined with shops whose owners are absolutely merciless in their techniques. A shopkeeper invited us in to his store to try a local wine – honestly, he didn’t even care if we bought anything, we just had to have a taste. We left with two bottles, feeling a little dazed. But it was good wine.
Amboise is full of flowers – Canna, Salvia, Rudbeckia, etc.
We walked through the old city and climbed up a hill to St. Denis, a church more than 900 years old. Look at the landscaping – pretty nice. A wedding was about to take place when we got there. A car in the parking lot was decorated with brooms seemingly dressed up as the happy couple.
Dusk was falling as we walked back toward the castle and our car. There had been a bit of rain, but now a rainbow appeared that was certainly the brightest and clearest either of us had ever seen. The end of the rainbow seemed to be just down the street.
It was a fitting end to our day in Amboise.