The Grand Tour – Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, & the United Kingdom, July 2019 – Trip Report – Part 3

Part 3 France

Château de Chenonceau Chenonceaux, France

Part 3 France

This is a continuation of a 4 part trip report, about our 2019 European Grand Tour.

If you haven’t read part 1 about Germany and Austria click here:

If you missed part 2 about Switzerland you can check that out here:



Beaune, France

Lovely little walled town surrounded by lush vineyards on small rolling hills.

On our first afternoon, we arrived a little later than planned due to a canceled train, and missed connections.  We checked in, and since we had a hotel with a kitchen, we headed to the supermarket. I love shopping in European supermarkets. I like to compare the choice of goods to with what we have at home, so this little chore was really a treat.  We had a quiet dinner in and prepared for the next day.

The following morning we visited the Hospices de Beaune.  The structure really is amazing. It’s worth checking out just for the colorful Burgundian tile roof.  There’s quite a bit on display about the daily operations of this hospital, that was in operation from 1452 to the 1970s, so there’s a lot of history here.  The afternoon was spent on bikes. We rented bikes and rode through the vineyards of the Côte d’Or. Sunshine, wind through your hair, the smell of good earth, promise of future wine, and the spires of churches in small villages surrounded us.  This was truly an experience to remember, and well worth my sore butt from the bicycle seat.  

The next morning was market day so we visited the market before heading to the train station. They had everything from new clothes, old antiques and books, and food of all types.  We didn’t purchase anything, that I recall, but I enjoyed looking.         

Best Memory – seeing my girls discover we rented e-bikes and the realization that they weren’t going to have to work so hard to get out of town.


Place Plumereau Tours, France

A bustling city on the Loire, with a flamboyant gothic cathedral, timber-framed old town, and centrally located for visiting the Chateaus of the Loire Valley.

We walked around from the cathedral area to the old town on our first evening.  The area around Place Plumereau and up Rue Colbert was very crowded with Saturday night dinners.  We then had dinner at a pasta restaurant before retiring for the day. The following day was July 14th la Fête nationale or Bastille Day, so we knew we would be up late viewing fireworks the next night. 

The next day was Sunday so we went to services at the Cathedral.  The building is beautiful and what better way to see the interior than to attend services.  Prior to services, we walked down to the old town to see the timber-framed architecture without all the crowds.  We then walked to the cathedral via the river bank. We had plans to go to the Musée des Beaux-Arts after church, but sadly it was closed for the July 14th holiday.  We went to the botanical gardens instead. They had a nice collection of plants and a small zoo with no admission charge, so nice! Since it was July 14th we joined in the festivities by going to a swing jazz dance show that evening and fireworks that night.  The fireworks were spectacular and are viewed down by the river near the old stone arched bridge. I have always wanted to experience Bastille Day in France and it did not disappoint.

on our last full day in France, we visited Château de Chenonceau.  This Chateau is stunning, it’s like a lovely lady bathing in the river Cher.  We started the tour at the Chateau and it was crowded. Even so, the interior is spectacular and worth mingling with the crowds.  The Chateau is impeccably maintained and everything is tidy with fresh flower arrangements. We even visited the other side of the river bank for views back toward the chateau and gardens. We had lunch at the cafe before viewing the not so crowded gardens and grounds. The formal gardens are lovely, splashes of aligned color with green forest background.   We also enjoyed visiting the vegetable garden. The girls especially loved the duck pond and donkeys. To my surprise, you can rent boats and ride under the chateau. So you know we had to do that too! Then it was, take the train back to Tours for dinner. What a great day!  

Best memories –  watching my daughter ride a chariot through the botanical gardens and rowing under Château de Chenonceau.  

On to the United Kingdom.  We have a perpendicular gothic cathedral(Minster) to see, and tea to drink.  Check back later for Part 4 the United Kingdom.

Carousel Beaune, France

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