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Hunting Castles

So, November was coming and we thought: let’s hit the road before winter starts! Three hours driving from Paris, the Loire valley was waiting for us. It’s known world-round for its castles, but it’s also kind of the wildest river we have in France (less wild than it used to be obviously, but still). Its sand makes it change every year and its banks aren’t built on like good old Seine river. Going there was a way of closing the circle for the year since our first roadtrip in spring was along the Loire too, but further east.

We could enjoy then nice walks on the canals in Briare and admire the Sully castle. This time we would go to the most famous areas of the Loire, where kings and queens spent their holiday doing royal stuff – basically, hunting. And well, to say the least, kings had good taste. At this time of the year you can manage to sleep anywhere, be it in town or in any village, even though it can get a bit creepy with the sun setting early and you’re near a very quite village and it’s Halloween night. But the day after you can have the best spot for dinner along the river with no one around on a camping ground that is closed until next summer – no one except for an old fisherman, a crane drying its feathers on a sandbar or a duck family crossing by in the pure colors of the sky and the river shining one in another.

As for castles, the one you cant’ avoid is definitely Chambord. Although pretty much crowded inside, it remains to be seen and visited. Mostly, it is surrounded by a huge forest area still used for hunting (be careful when it’s the season) but also where you can hike and cycle as you like. Deer has been the emblem of the domain for ages and we were lucky enough to meet a whole family that our beloved city dog watched passing by not knowing what to do.

There is a paying camping carpark just in front of the castle from where you have the best view but we preferred to stay just a few hundreds meters away in the forest where the paths start in a very quite (and free) place under the trees. On the last morning, we woke up in the deepest fog you can imagine, as if the river had penetrated the air. We drove slowly and carefully until the next place to empty the toilets and tanks and then headed back home. Autumn was there for sure.

See the castles on a map:

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