Chenonceau, Chambord, and Paris

Two weekends ago I went to Chenonceau with Dillon, Caroline, Carmen, and Thomas (other Americans).  It’s about two hours away from Orléans by train.  The castle is gorgeous.  It was build above the river so it’s both a castle and a bridge.  They had one entire floor of the castle that was dedicated to the writings of people who were involved with Chenonceau.  That was my favorite part.  It was also very well done, as far as museums go.  Most of the castles/museums have an overload of information, but Chenonceau was perfect.  There was information on each room, but it wasn’t a novel.  On the grounds there are several gardens, two of which for the king’s women.  One was for his wife, Catherine de Medici, and the other was for his mistress, Diane de Portiers.  There is also a small labyrinth in the forest surrounding the castle.

The next weekend I ran my first 5k since high school.  Actually I’ve run two I think, but either way it’s been a while.  It was called Les Foulées Roses d’Olivet and it was a run for fighting cancer.  Hubert and I both ran the 5k and there were about 1300 people in our race, but there were 4500 people total, including the other two races.  I ran a 24:31 and I don’t remember what Hubert’s time was, but he beat me.

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We got home from the race around noon and then we ate lunch with two of my family’s friends.  After lunch, we all went to Chambord, which is another château on the Loire River.  The castle was gorgeous– they all are.  Before Chambord was a museum, it was owned by a wealthy family.  They left the top floor of the castle basically unchanged (the museum did) so you can still see all of the old wallpaper and some of the other old things like lamps, chairs, etc.  Instead of refurbishing it, they left all of the peeling wallpaper, they didn’t fix the chairs, and they didn’t restain the floors.  It’s really cool and it was my favorite thing about the castle.  It is also home to a large art collection.

I actually took some pictures of the interior this time.  This is the formal dining room and the billiards room.

The castle was awesome, but the best thing about Chambord is the gardens.  It took years to construct them and each one was made by a team of professional artists.  Each garden has a theme and a purpose.  One of my favorite’s was the Frankenstein garden.

There were so many gardens that we didn’t get to see all of them, but I took pictures of the ones I liked the most.  By the way, meet my host parents: Lise and Hubert.

I got lucky with my class schedule here and I have every Friday off from school so on Friday my friend Wenjing cooked us authentic Chinese food.  It was delicious, even though it was really spicy.

I’ve also started riding my bike to school because it’s faster than the tram.  I don’t have any pictures of that, but I’m going to try to take a timelapse someday soon of my commute to school because it’s really pretty.

This past weekend I went to Paris with Dillon on Saturday.  We took a train there early in the morning and arrived around 9:30.  The first thing we did was buy some Nutella crêpes, and then we went to Sacré Coeur because it’s beautiful and one of my favorites.  It also has a great view of the city.  I just looked through my phone to find the pictures of it to post, but I realized I didn’t actually take any.  I must have been enjoying it a lot.  Well, it’s the header of my blog so you can see the building there, but I did take one of the view.

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The Eiffel Tower is on the other side, but you can see it when you’re at the top of Sacré Coeur.  When we were up there, we actually met two people who were from Missouri.  It was crazy!  I heard one of them say Missouri and I asked them where they were from and they said Kansas City, but one of them grew up in Monett.  They had just spent two weeks in Egypt and were spending their last four days in Paris.

After Sacré Coeur, we went to Notre Dame and I got to feed a pigeon!!!  A little girl that was there gave me some of her popcorn.  It won’t let me post the video on here, but I’ll upload it to my Facebook.  There’s a famous bookstore right across from the cathedral called Shakespeare & Company, that I’ve been wanting to go to and finally did.  It was like everything you could dream of in a good bookstore.  I bought A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway because I thought it was only fitting.  The bookstore has been relocated since he lived here, but it was the same one that he used to buy books from.

That evening, we went to a Zelda concert!  It was awesome!  They had scenes from the game up on a screen and the music went to it.  It was called The Symphony of the Goddesses.  They were really good and they got a standing ovation.  There were also people there in Link costumes, it was the best.

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That night we stayed at my friend Kim’s house.  I met her on the last trip to Paris.  She used to go to MSSU and did the same program in Orléans that I’m doing right now.  So that was great because it was free and she’s really cool.  The next morning we woke up early to go to Père Lachaise, which is a very famous cemetery in Paris.

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Around noon, some of our friends met us in the city and we all went to the Eiffel Tower together.

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