Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tour de France, Part 2

When I last left off, my mum and I had just visited marvellous Marseille, with its beautiful harbour and sunshine-filled skies.

The next day we boarded another train, this time to Paris. We got there around the early evening and stayed in the same hotel I had stayed at when I first arrived, a little hotel well situated in the 18e arrondissement, with easy walking access to all the sights. I was really excited to show my mum Paris, as it is such a stunning city—especially your first time visiting. That evening we went for a walk through Montmartre to Sacré Coeur, down the butte de Montmartre past the Opera house and through the jardin des Tuilleries.

The next morning we woke up early and were off on a day trip to Chenonceau castle.

This Loire Valley château is impressive and surprisingly tranquil (given the number of visitors) and has an interesting history. Built at the beginning of the sixteenth century, Henry II gave it to his “préférée”, or mistress, Diane de Poitiers. After his death, Henry’s wife, Catherine de Medici, evicted Diane and inhabited the château. During the First World War, Chenonceau served as a hospital. During the Second World War was situated exactly on the dividing line between the Occupied and Free zones. As such, it was used by the Resistance.

The next few days we had in Paris were spent visiting the sights, including the Sainte-Chapelle, which I’d never seen before. Then we boarded the Eurostar back to London.

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