Month: March 2016

Around Town

I haven’t done one of these for a while! I thought I’d share a few phone snaps of what we’ve been up to these past couple months, so here we are with Around Town Volume VII. The Prairies des Rois are a couple of huge fields with walking paths, farmland, and poplar groves separating Loches from Beaulieu-lès-Loches, the next town over. I’ve posted many photos of our walks there before (like here, for example) and we spent a lot of time down there through summer and fall just hanging out. There are a bunch of informative placards throughout the Prairie, talking about the birds living there, the poplar groves which are grown for harvest every couple years, and the wetlands that happen in the winter if the Loire floods. The fields do flood every year to varying degrees, but apparently this year is one of the worst in recent memory! As you saw in my last post about Chinon, with trees literally growing out of the expanded river, the banks of the Loire did indeed flood this winter. Even though I didn’t feel like it was all that …

Chinon

A couple weeks ago, we drove up to Chinon to check out the town. It’s about an hour’s drive from Loches, nestled beside the Vienne river right near the Loire. We didn’t really know what to expect of the town. Of course, being a Sunday, we did find it mostly quite quiet, with the weekly market just finishing up in the square as we arrived. We wandered up the road to an elevator (!!!) leading to the château and forteresse, perched up on the hill above. Now you may think that we’ve seen enough châteaux to last us a lifetime, and I admit it is coming close to that point! But that being said, when we go back home this summer, I have no doubt that we will greatly miss rounding a bend in the road and finding ourselves gazing at centuries-old towns with ancient stone castles perched along the river. La Forteresse de Chinon was a little different than what we’ve seen before as far as presentation. The interior is cleared out instead of being set up with furniture, and …

Les Machines de l’Île

After we chose Loches as home for our year in France, we started looking around the region at places to visit and nearby excursions we wanted to do. One of the first attractions we came across in the Loire (other than the many many châteaux) was Les Machines de l’Île in Nantes. Once we saw photos online of the mechanical elephant, we knew we had to go. We finally had the chance to visit during our weekend in La Baule. Honestly, we didn’t really know what to expect of the other machines, so we were very pleasantly surprised by what we saw. Les Machines de l’Île is housed in an old shipyard on an island in the middle of the Loire river in Nantes. Within the walls of the shipyard, there is a gallery showcasing all the machines and the history of the place. Unfortunately we had to pick and choose what to see during our limited time there, so we didn’t have the chance to go inside the gallery. We opted instead to ride the giant mechanized elephant and the undersea-themed carousel. The …

Loire-Atlantique

I think I’ve mentioned this a few times before, but since we’ve been living inland here in France, every so often we get the itch to make our way to the coast. Thank goodness for all the rivers around here, otherwise I’d truly go through water withdrawal. After we came home from Berlin, we all decided it would be nice to smell that ocean air, so we hopped in the car and headed for La Baule, a coastal town in the Loire-Atlantique. We found ourselves in a delightful little seaside village full of boutiques, chocolateries, and loads of restaurants. We had an apartment right on the strip, and I can imagine that come summer it is totally the place to be. Lucky for us, we love a winter beach almost as much as a summer one. The kids have so much fun exploring wild rocky beaches and searching for treasures, so really we couldn’t have chosen a better spot for our blustery February weekend getaway. We spent much of our time wandering the seaside trails and rocky beaches of Le Pouliguen and Batz-sur-Mer, …