Thursday, April 18, 2013

April in France-Part 1

Bonjour tout le monde!

Recent family visit explains the delay in blog updates. We had a visit from my in-laws, K and R, from the States.
Funny, their name almost sounds like a ranch name, huh?
"Welcome to the K & R Bar None. Reckon I'll see ya around..."
Hmmm...maybe not.
Moving on.

Anyway, they came in on a Saturday and left on a Monday, spending 10 glorious days with us! Here's a picture guide of a few of the activities we did.

Went to Paris to see the Paris Marathon and heard a drumline at the Place de la Concorde playing for the runners.

Can you feel the excitement?!
 Went to the Tuileries Gardens of the Louvre on our way to the Musée de l'Orangerie for Free Museum Sunday. It was there that we saw the gardens completely deserted.

I like to call this shot, "Empty Chairs at Empty Fountains"
Following that we walked to the Panthéon, but couldn't get in for free. So we passed on going inside but ate at a crêperie with this as our view:

Then we relaxed in the Luxembourg Gardens and got to hear a free live band concert performed by a CA high school on tour. So neat and the children were very talented.

The kids clinging to the railing were so cute. Band groupies. Got to love them!
Then off to St. Michel and St. Germain des Pres for some macarons and chocolate. At the fountain, there was a piano man. Very good too! I love Paris when it's good weather. All the musicians come out and the city just comes alive with talent.

Tuesday we went to Tours, France to see some châteaux of the Loire valley with an English tour guide.

The last time I was here was 7 years ago with my best friend, GNP, on a backpacking tour through Europe.
 Of course, we went to Chenonceau, which was a first for K and R, but a second time for Mr. K and myself. It's our favorite château though so we didn't mind in the least!

Twisted tree in the gardens
Lovely arrangement!

 After that we went to a new chateau called Clos le Lucé also known as the château of Leonardo DaVinci, great inventor and mentor to the French king, François the 1st.
The back of the château

One of the inner rooms

The grounds where his inventions were displayed
The chateau was neat, but the basement was cooler. It was there that you got to see his inventions up close in model form.
First bike and car

R and K admiring a tank

The best part for me? Seeing quotes of an Italian inventor on the walls in French.

Quick French lesson. Go!

Answer: Who can stop hatred except love?
 Okay, next one!

Answer: Science is the captain, and Practice, it is the soldiers.
 How'd we do? Not too shabby, I'd say. Smart man, he is.

Francois the 1st really liked Leonardo. So much so that he built an underground tunnel to access the chateau from Amboise to Clos le Lucé.

Amboise, viewed from the back of the château.

Underground passage linking the two castles.
Legend has it that Leonardo came over the Alpes from Italy into France on the back of a donkey carrying the Mona Lisa under his arm. Francois the 1st liked the painting so much that he bought it off of Leonardo paying full price. And this is why the Mona Lisa or "La Joconde" is in France to this very day.

Pretty neat, huh?

I guess that's all for now.

Tune in next time for April in France-Part 2, where we go to Giverny and Versailles.


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