As a sort of recompense for my toils last week, C & I decided to do a bit of sight-seeing on our way back to Paris.
Our first stop was at the biggest dolmen in Europe, found just outside of Saumur. It's hard to tell from the picture, but it's gigantic - over 23m (75ft) tall and 18m (60ft) long. And C, who's over 6 feet tall, was able to stand up inside of it no problem. Not bad for a 5,000 year old structure, eh?Then it was on to Troglodyte country - some of you may remember that I visited some troglodyte caves around this time last year. Well this time around, we found some that had literally been built into the side of a mountain. Wouldn't this be a crazy place to live?
In between stops, we would our way through many a tiny, deserted village:
Stopping along the way to taste & purchase several different wines - among them were Saumurs, Chinons, Bourgeuils, and a magnum of Crémant de Loire for Thanksgiving dinner. We'll just say that I did most of the tasting and C did most of the driving. And luckily the more I drank, the less I minded the slow driving - it made for easier picture-taking anyways. :)
And lastly, what's a visit to the Loire Valley without a stop at a Chateau? I've been to most of the big castles here over the years, so this time we stopped at the Chateau d'Ussé - which is supposedly the castle that inspired the writing of Sleeping Beauty. I don't know if that's true, but it sure was a neat place to visit:And then it was back to Paris and the horrible traffic jams caused by the "snow" that day. I ended up driving since we were running short on time to return the rental car, and man - it was one of the most stressful things I've ever done. But I did it, and we made it back just in the nick of time. It's funny though, because there are a lot of great destinations within an easy drive of Paris - but the Parisian traffic is so bad we never want to go. Our travel time last week was doubled (4 hours instead of 2 hours) just because of the traffic. So how people commute everyday in IdF, I will never know!