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Old 06-10-2010, 02:13 AM
Location: Hawaii and North Carolina
96 posts, read 296,484 times
Reputation: 138


Sometime ago we set up some exchanges for France. We arrived a couple weeks ago...and spent the first week in the country side about an hour south of Paris. Here's the home where we stayed:

On one of our first days Stan and I decided to stay within a 30 mile radius of our home base, St. Lucien. Our backyard:
and the kitchen:

Our first stop was to be a medieval garden (Bois de Richeux) at a nearby town, Pierre. For some reason, this guide-book touted attraction wasn’t mentioned in our GPS, but we pursued it nonetheless. We found Pierre but not the garden, which was named after another town on the outskirts of Pierre. Hoping that the garden was actually in the town with the same name, we drove to Bois de Richeux. No luck there either. Persistent to the end, we retraced our route to Pierre and saw a bus next to a large building, perhaps the entrance to the gardens. Wishful thinking. Very young school children, not tourists, streamed out of the bus. The garden turned out to be a kindergarten.

Well, at least we were close to the second item on our travelogue for the day, a castle in another nearby town, Maintenon. Following our trusty GPS, we located the chateau. But because of extensive excavation around the castle, we couldn’t get near it. Another bummer.

So much for visiting sites within a small radius! We decided to venture much further south towards the Loire valley chateaux. We plugged into our GPS the name of an illustrious castle, Chambord. Off we went, but in the wrong direction as it turned out. After fiddling with the GPS, we realized that we were heading east towards La Chambord, not Chambord. Another setback.

A small town, not in the tour books, but one of the many beautiful buildings we found on our route while we were looking around:

Coincidentally, we were near a nature preserve that was on our original list. Instead of backtracking to the Loire region, we went a couple of miles to Espace de Rambouillet (or Rambo, for short). Finally, we were rewarded. Along the way, we saw carefree bison, skittish clusters of deer, and heard tremulous hooting from hidden owls. The forest itself had many delicately etched trees, reminding me of the ones in French impressionistic painting. Walking on the innumerable paths was such a pleasure; we needed some serenity after the frustrating beginning of our day. Without a doubt, we got a lot of mileage in these lovely, dark, and deep woods.

Returning home that evening we were rewarded with a lovely display by this peacock in our own backyard!!
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Old 06-12-2010, 01:15 PM
Location: Eureka CA
8,265 posts, read 11,127,425 times
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Beautiful pix! Thanks for sharing.
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Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

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