Next stop on our European vacation tour was Angers, France. Now, this one was completely researched and planned by yours truly. We’ve gone to the big city of Paris, but I wanted to do something so very French, and that meant staying in the country at a French chateau. Little did I know that when I picked our particular chateau, it would be everything we expected and very far off the beaten path.
Let me introduce you to the Château de Montriou, situated in the heart of the Loire Valley. I found this chateau on trusty tripadvisor.com, where previous guests gave their stay extremely high ratings. Add to that the stunning pictures on the website and I was sold. The chateau itself was once a castle that dated back to the fifteenth century. Built just next to it is a chapel called the “Three Maries,” also built in the fifteenth century, in memory of King René of Anjou by Charles de Beauveau. In the last century, the castle has been expanded, but they haven’t changed the original structure other than repairs. The castle also has incredible gardens that are maintained by one of the chateau owners, Nicole. She is particularly famous for her pumpkin garden.
When we arrived, we were personally greeted by Nicole. Luckily for us, she speaks a bit of English, and proceeded to show us around the chateau and then to our room. We stayed in the “yellow room,” where pamphlets and brochures were awaiting us for a self-guided tour of the chateau and gardens. We were only staying one night, so we dropped our bags and immediately ventured outside to take a look at the grounds. Unfortunately, this area of France had been experiencing a drought, which meant there was not as much in bloom as advertised. That was okay, though, because the weather was perfect, the scenery was breathtaking, and Nicole herself joined us to talk about her pumpkins and the history of the castle.
Breakfast was included at the chateau, so the next morning Matt and I awoke bright and early for fresh coffee and warm croissants, served again by Nicole. She encouraged us to take a look at the chapel after breakfast, telling us a bit about the history and emphasizing that it isn’t often that one steps foot in a chapel so old. It is amazing that this thing still stands, but obviously with the help of the owners, they have been able to preserve this piece of history. A bit dilapidated, the chapel is small and quaint, but there is no mistaking the beauty it once held. With its marble alter, stained glass windows, and wooden benches, I could almost imagine what mass must have looked like in the 1400s.
When it was time to go, I was a bit sad to leave such an interesting place with an amazing amount of rich history. But, there is only so much one can do out in the middle of nowhere! However, I highly recommend a chateau experience to anyone travelling to the French countryside.