Thursday, July 30 , Quimper – Tours
Walked around the town this A.M. saw some of the pottery and interesting spots but the place was so dirty and smelled so that we couldn’t enjoy it. We left at 2:30 after a terrible commotion at the station trying to fine out train. No one there spoke English and we had an awful time, just got on as the train was pulling out. Our guide from the trip thru Normandy was on the train still as dirty as ever. He kept us company for a while and just before he got off he took a large bottle of “Evening in Paris” perfume from his pocked and rubbed it all over his dirty hands. (Typically French). Long train ride uneventful till we changed at [illegible] then met some American fellows who talked with us a few hours. Gee! it was grand for a change. Changed trains again at St. Pierre de Corps, arrived at Tours completely exhausted and we so pleased to find the hotel man waiting for us. He was so pleasant and helpful we felt better immediately. Lovely Hotel with English speaking people. Late supper, bed almost immediately afterwards.
After the last entry my mother reminded me of a moment from 56 years later in Doris’s life. I was ten years old, with my parents and grandmother at a fancy restaurant in Rome, where Grandma was displeased that the menu was in Italian. My mother was able to translate for her, but Grandma continued to insist there should have been an English version, tut-tutting about the ways of foreigners until finally my mother ended the conversation with, “Mom, we’re the foreigners!” So, with regard to her feelings about non-English speakers at least, my grandmother remained quite consistent.
Friday July 31 , Tours – Chateau Country
Up at 7:30 and after breakfast in our room we started off on a sight seeing tour of the chateaus of the surrounding country. The first one we visited was Loches Castle. It is a very intersting place but a bit weird because of some of its horrible dungeons and implements of torture. Its church is very beautiful and has four pyramid spires the only ones of their kind in a church in the world. The castle is built completely of chalk with no foundation at all. Agnes Sorel’s body is buried here. Our next stop was the Chateau of Chenonceau. An interesting place because of the beautiful tree lined walk of about 3 blocks that leads up to it and the lovely formal gardens around it. the Chateau itself is completely surrounded by water and not particularly beautiful inside.
From here we went went to Amboise a chateau built in the top of a hill it has now been bought by the house of Orleans and is used as a home for old servants. There is a beautiful little chapel here “St. Hubert” in which the body of Leonardo Da Vinci is buried. From the gardens here you can see the whole country side and up and down the river. Had supper back at the hotel and spent the evening writing as usual and to bed early.
Doris’s spelling in this entry had serious issues, which were harder than usual to figure out because Googling possible place names near “Tours” quickly becomes an exercise in frustration. Without the descriptions of things like famous graves, I’m not sure I would have been able to decipher them. The châteaux she visited: Loches, Chenonceau, d’Amboise. I was not previously familiar with Agnès Sorel, but it seems she had great influence with King Charles VII, was the first officially recognized royal mistress, and started a fashion for going about court bare-breasted. She’s the model for this contemporary painting by Jean Fouquet, The Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels.