When I realized our France trip this summer would be taking us through some of the same countryside I traveled during my high school study abroad trip, I knew immediately what I wanted to add to our itinerary: Château de Chenonceau. It is not the largest or most spectacular of all French castles, but for some reason it's charm stuck in my memory from that first trip so many years earlier. I don't know if it was because of my first-ever trip to Europe, or because of the time I spent there with both new and very old friends, or perhaps it was the little boat we rented and paddled around the river beneath the castle, but I was eager to revisit it all these years later with my husband.
Sadly, the boats were not in service this trip, but the castle and its grounds were just as beautiful as I remembered. We spent a couple hours meandering around in the muggy, hot July weather, taking in the pristine French architecture and gardens. Now living in the land of German castles, it was interesting to see the juxtaposition of these very different royal abodes. Though much like my favorite German castle, I think the captivating part of Château de Chenonceau lies in its unique location utilising the surrounding landscape.
One really nice surprise on our visit was discovering it was the Château's 500th anniversary. I still take much delight in how old Europe is, from the everyday structures (our apartment building hails from the 1890s) to great attractions like castles, fortresses and ancient city walls. It just made our visit that much more special to know that we were there to celebrate such an immense anniversary.
Just in case you were in the mood for a little #throwbackthursday a few days early...
Château de Chenonceau - and me - circa 1996.