One of our favorite days in France we biked 36 km to visit the chateau of a neighboring town, Villandry. We set off around 11:30 am, after seeing the small Fine Arts museum in Tours. While the art wasn’t really worth the admission price, a visit to the museum gardens rewards one with the chance to behold a giant Cedar of Lebanon. Just knowing that Biblical authors were in awe of this tree was enough to spark my interest. The feeling of astonishment I had when I saw the 200-year old mammoth arbor didn’t compare with the curiosity I felt beforehand. Never pass up a chance to see such natural beauty.
After speeding through the art museum, gaping once more at the tree, and renting our bikes for the day, we pedaled south of Tours, over the Cher River, past the municipal pool, and into the sprawling park along the banks of the river. Even though the wind blew directly in our faces, and the biking turned out to be more difficult than we bargained for (wrinkly faces and gray hair sped past us easily), we loved the exhilaration of physical activity, and the ability to see the pristine countryside.
Once in the tiny town of Villandry, we refueled with sandwiches and ice cream, then entered the castle grounds. Chateau Villandry is really renown for its gardens. The acres of traditional French gardens surrounding the castle are what visitors come to see. Reflection pools, rows and rows of lime trees, a hedge maze, and a potage garden all await those who stroll through the greenery.
On the way back to Tours, we stopped in a little town along the river for a break. In a green field underneath shade trees, two locals had set up a refreshment cabin, selling drinks, crepes, and waffles. We sat together under the shade, drank apple cider, read our books, and watched the people out enjoying their Sunday afternoon. Seeing families and friends together outside, relaxing together on a Sunday, playing cards, swimming, biking, makes me appreciate how important it is to take a rest day at least once a week. It seems that much easier in places like France, where almost all shops are closed on Sundays, so that people aren’t tempted to go on with their daily chores and shopping.
Reflecting on the trip with Andrew, we both agreed that our day biking in the fresh air was one of the highlights of the trip for us.