loire valley

I spent a week in the city of Tours in the Loire Valley, and rode a dinky little rental bike around the valley for a couple of days to see some of the châteaux.

Some pictures from the bike rides:

The Chenonceau château, over the Cher river. During WWI, the corridor was used as an infirmary for wounded soldiers. During WWII, the dividing line between French Vichy territory and German occupation cut through the middle of the château. There were German soldiers in the occupied half of the château, but some people actually managed to escape by passing through the southern entrance.

Okay, so, I am a bad person. I was not supposed to take flash photographs of any of the tapestries, and despite the guilt in the pit of my stomach, I waited until the guards passed on to other floors to take the pictures. It was all in the name of art appreciation, I swear!

These two tapestries are called The Triumph of Charity (left) and The Triumph of Force (right). Maybe I shouldn’t have even bothered taking the pictures, because you have to see tapestries in person to appreciate them. But I still think they make pretty cool graphics, too.

Meanwhile, French politics are in an uproar because in the primary elections, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a member of the extreme right Front National, got the second most number of votes, so the final elections on the 5th will be between the current president, Chirac, and Le Pen. There have been demonstrations all over France against Le Pen.

The Château d’Amboise, just east of Tours along the Loire. This one has some pretty amazing history to go along with it. Some Protestants who were found guilty of conspiracy were hanged from the balcony of the château, which looks out over the town. This is one of the events that led to the Edict of Nantes, I believe.

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