|rainy street in Azay-le-Rideau|
Sunday morning it was greyish and showery, but the meteo promised better later on. We remained sceptical; the heavens opened as we drove down our drive -- oh joy -- another sudden short but drenching shower. We were on our way to Chinon and Azay-le-Rideau well armed with 2 cameras and 3 umbrellas.
We'd asked Jane which of the chateaux she would like to visit and the choice had fallen on Azay; or Villandry, if the sun came out, as it has such lovely gardens. We hadn't been to either for years and years so were intrigued to see how much we remembered. We decided to make a final decision when we got to Chinon. That way we could drive through some of the vineyards as well as find some lunch and give the weather time to improve.
|chateau's gilded stable roof|
We drove via Ligeuil, Ste Maure-en-Touraine and L'Ile-Buchard where we stopped at a boulangerie which was still open and bought things for a quick picnic lunch. We already had fruit and mineral water in the car. Just as we left L'Ile-Buchard the sky turned purple-green and another drenching shower crashed down--not very encouraging.
|Azay-le-Rideau 'floating' on its lake|
Ever optimistic, we drove on to Chinon via the smaller D road on the north bank of the Vienne river. By the time we got there the shower had cleared and we were able to to sit on a bench on the south side of the river directly opposite the royal fortress of Chinon with the sun cheering us up. We were just finishing the last bit of bread and the fruit large when 'plops' of rain began to fall and we beat a hasty retreat to the car.
|blue skies outside!|
The decision was made--we would go to Azay-le-Rideau; it just wasn't the weather for rambling round the gardens at Villandry.
Arriving in the town we found a parking spot in the square and as it was still spitting we found a cafe and had large basins of café au lait to warm us up before walking down to the chateau. You'd think we were posting about a visit in April, not August!!
However, France being France the weather can change at the drop of a (rain)hat. We had barely gone in queued for our tickets and entered the grounds or the clouds broke and it became sunny. Just look at the
photos. The one of a street in Azay was taken only a matter of 5 or 10 mins before the one of the gilded roof!