I just realised that in my last post (when we arrived in Tours), I didn’t think to point out that Tours is a city in France. I did not arrive somewhere in order to take multiple tours. I’m not sure if that needed clarification or not but there you go.
As you were.
Day 3 we woke up in the beautiful Hotel Oceania L’Univers in Tours. We grabbed breakfast (buffet, of course) and then went for a wander around the city centre. It was warm, lovely weather and it was quiet as anything, which made for a peaceful Monday morning walk. A lot of shops there don’t open on a Monday and even if they do, its not until about midday. This was a big change in pace in comparison to London life but one that we welcomed. Well, for the day.
(I was frustrated this morning in London when I tried to buy food at 6am, only to realise the supermarket near me didn’t open until 7am. I don’t think I would cope well with Tours opening hours in my day to day life.)
We only had an hour or so before we were picking up the rental car, so our aim was just to sight see and get a feel for the area. I must say, I’d forgotten how pretty it was from when I went 10 years ago. We went down to the river and from there walked up to Place Plumerau, in the medieval quarter. Its a beautiful little area that looks like its straight out of a postcard.
After staring at the buildings in awe for a while and choosing which one we would like to live in, we moved on to Cathedral Saint Gatien down the road which is MASSIVE. We actually walked past a lot of other lovely buildings en route to here too – you could spend hours wandering and wondering which one you would choose to live in. If you’re into that sort of thing (which I’m 99% sure everyone is).
Tours is known as the capital of the Loire Valley, which is a region that produces a lotttt of wine. We liked this. We liked this a lot. In fact, that was the main reason we were there.
From Tours, we drove to Beaulieu-sur-Layon which is a idyllic little French village surrounded by vineyards. We had booked to stay at Domaine de la Soucherie for the night, which indeed also produces its own wine from its own vineyard. Its also probably one of the nicest places I have ever stayed.
Yet again we had great weather, it was calm and quiet, and we had somewhere pretty nice to stay. The rooms were insane and the view from them was even better. We went for a walk around the picturesque surroundings and it was exactly how I had imagined we would be spending our time in France. Aside from leaning on a sticky, sappy tree and being forced to change clothes, that is. Plus the ants that managed to get into my suitcase and thus all my clothes, after sensing my coconut shampoo. Those bits I hadn’t thought about.
We were there to drink wine and its not particularly close to anything so before the drinking began, we did the smart thing and drove to a local supermarket to get some food. I’m so glad we did this because once the drinking began, the drinking didn’t stop for a while.
We went for a wine tasting with the manager of the chateau and picked our favourites. He also taught us how to properly taste the wine (we had the option of spitting it back out but chose not to because, why would we?). Only one of us spat the wine over ourselves in an attempt to do it properly and for once I can proudly say it wasn’t me.
After the wine tasting, we drank some more wine in a different place. They have an honour system where you can take whatever you want (wine/sparkling wine included) from the kitchen, as long as you tell them what you drank at the end of your stay (which we of course did. The empty bottles were a bit of a hint too).
A Canadian couple were also staying at the chateau so joined us for drinks in the evening outside in the courtyard (plus the huge lovely dog that lives there). If you want to go somewhere, relax and drink wine, this is the place to be. I honestly couldn’t recommend it more highly.
My only wish, would be that I had hulk like arms so I could carry boxes and boxes of their rose back with me. Sadly I only managed one bottle with the understanding I would be able to order more back home. Now I am back, its become apparent that I can’t order more and now I spend my days sitting, staring at the one little bottle I have and wondering what occasion is ever going to be good enough in order for me to warrant drinking it.
Basically, what would be great is if someone could drive out there, buy a bunch of wine and then deliver it back to me in London. Anyone?
CREDIT: A lot of the pictures in this were taken by my boyfriend, Fred. Here is his work instagram.