I woke up early today because we’re taking our mini trip outside of Paris. I was quite thrilled because well, I’ll be traveling around France. The TGV was cool, very smooth ride and very nice inside. Pardon me for my ‘promdiness’, but I’ve never taken a bullet train before. So all is well, nice view, la la la.. until we get to Tours. We have a car rental reservation with ADA. It was a bit off the train station but we thought it’s ok because we got a cheaper deal. We actually did a very, very intensive research on this 8 days trip of ours. When we finally found our way to ADA office at Avenue Maginot, where we had to take a short bus ride from the station, and had to walk a few blocks, lugging our carryon suitcases, the office was close! and no single car in the garage! and when I tried calling their number, it was not in service! It was totally a twilight zone moment!
I had to pull out the email confirmation I printed out to prove my competence to Claire, as car rental was my responsibility! Good thing she had her Lonely Planet France and we tried to contact another car rental office. We found Ecoto. Funny with Ecoto, since they have the cheapest deal in Loire Valley, I tried to reserve with them through email before, but I never got any reply. Fortunately, they answer the phone when we called this time. I fumbled with my French which I hadn’t really had the chance to practice, and not that I was totally fluent to begin with you know. I understood though that he had a car available, that it is for 77euro, which is cheaper than ADA, and that they close at 12h. I look at my watch, it was 1130h. We had some time though we still have to find where they are located, so I just had to tell him that: S’il vous plait, vous doivent nous attendre. Nous sommes des Étrangers et nous sommes perdus!!
So we got our car at 12h. He gave us a map and we’re on our way to Mer, where our hotel, Le Clos, is located.The town of Blois is touristy based on the branded shops scattered around the small town. The most popular attraction of course is the Château de Blois. We rushed through our lunch at 3pm at a nice petite café beside the château fearing that we will not be able to explore well the place as it closes at 6pm. After all, the guide books says we should allot 2~3 hours per château. We must be some kind of super genius as we were able to see the whole place in a little over 1 hour, haha!The building structure is grand and colossal, and when you get there first, and this being my very first château, it was quite overwhelming. But a lot of the areas were closed so it’s easy to breeze through the 4 stories of the east wing, which is basically the only one open to public. I think people spend more time at the souvenir shop, hehe. Oh well, I guess if you want to stay and watch the documentary they have, in the language you choose, you can easily spend over 2 hours in here. The interesting things you see in here are the crazy and lavishly decorated bed rooms of the royalty. They have elaborate patterned wall papers, ceilings, stained glass, heavy curtains, great chimneys, and grand oil paintings by known artists of that time. My most favorite item in the château is the infant baby grand piano with intricate designs. I love it and spend a lot of time taking picture of it.
After the souvenir shop, it was still early and we had to decide if we want to go back to our little town of nowhere, Mer, or stay. The guide book did say that there are some happening places in here and so we decided we will wait for it to happen. It being still 5pm, we decided to walk about the shops and got tea and cake at this nice little place. We’ve been noticing that a lot of the eating places we go to only have 1 person working in there and so it usually takes a long time for them to notice us and get our orders. Of course the order also takes a while, but in the same token, we can also sit there forever. Then at 7pm, we decided to go to the Velvet Jazz where it supposed to have live band playing every Thursday, as it says so in the guide book, and also at the billboard of the place. We needed a few to calculate what day it is today, as with when we’re on holiday, we lost tract of any sense of time or date. We decided that we’re very fortunate as it was Thursday and ordered a bottle of wine! This of course will also serve as our dinner, lol.
We had to do a lot of ordering and inquiring and getting instructions in French here in the province. I’m really quite happy for that because it’s some kind of validation of the 2 years I’ve been going to Alliance. Sometimes we get thrown off when they suddenly asked us something we do not expect, like if we order water and they want to know if we want them with ‘gaz’. We look at each other, ‘glace’? but it’s freezing!? Anyway, there never was a live band. We finished our wine and left for neverland.