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With a few hours of driving and David feeling sick, we took this day a little easy. After arriving to Lyon from Annecy, we stayed nearby our Airbnb, which had the most gorgeous entryway, and walked by the river to see some beautiful views of the older part of the city.
Despite the mild rain, we loved this day of exploring Lyon. Our first stop of the day required us to take a tram ride uphill to access the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. Completed in the 1880s, this beautiful place of worship featured gorgeous, clean architecture and the most stunning ceilings inside. I absolutely loved that it wasn’t too crowded, which allowed us to relax and enjoy our time inside.
Just outside the Basilica, you could walk over to see the views of the city. We enjoyed how peaceful and historic everything looked in Lyon. The views were incredible beautiful and peaceful.
One of the things we planned to do in Lyon was explore and wander the streets. During our walk down the hill from the Basilica, we stumbled upon this gorgeous nook with the most stunning light.
Our next stop had me so excited for our visit. The Musée Miniature et Cinéma is full of movie props and most importantly, miniatures. Talk about being in mini heaven! The level of detail and the variety of miniatures wowed both David and me. We absolutely loved it here and would recommend it to anyone.
Also, nearby the miniature museum, I spotted this sweet creation and had to have one. It’s ice cream shaped into a rose that’s topped with a macaron. I chose chocolate and vanilla ice cream for the rose and then a raspberry macaron. The combo did not disappoint.
After eating lunch, David and I explored Lyon’s Terreaux Square which featured some stunning architecture that I wished was in San Diego. Following these sights, Parc de la Tête d’Or was next on our list. The park boasts beautiful gardens, deer, interesting architecture, and some of the most gorgeous homes that rest on the park’s border.
Although we loved Lyon’s park and the mini museum, we ultimately felt that we would have rather stayed a few more days in Annecy. Lyon was beautiful, although not the best for vegetarians and likely our least favorite compared to the other cities we visited on our trip.
Saying goodbye to Lyon, we set off for the Loire Valley to begin our chateau marathon. Our first stop was the Château de Valençay, a beautiful residence that began construction in the 1500s. Coming from the outside, you see this quaint building with a walkthrough arch that leads to a large courtyard where you may either enter the chateau or walk down to the gardens.
Taking you all inside the estate, you’ll see the gorgeous high ceilings and many beautiful materials present on the walls and bedding of the home.
Walking back outside, a beautiful staircase trails down toward the gardens. This trip made me fall in love with staircases that are weathered and imperfect!
After leaving Valençay, David and I headed to the incredibly famous/crowded/popular/touristy Château de Chenonceau. I remember visiting Chenonceau ten years ago and absolutely loved the feeling of familiarity I had on the property. Out of all of the chateaux that we visited, Chenonceau was by far the most popular, so do be aware of this when planning the date and time you’ll visit. I would recommend visiting earlier in the day to avoid crowds and the heat if you go in the summer.
If you’re hoping to visit many chateaux in the Loire Valley, I absolutely encourage you to stay in the old part of Tours. It’s charming and fairly central to many of the estates nearby. Our first stop of the day was Château de Blois, a massive property with over 500 rooms.
It was a little disorientating figuring out where we’d been and where we were supposed to go next, though we loved exploring and feeling like we were a little lost in this glorious place. Part of the structure is made with brick, making it look incredibly different from the other wings as it was built by different architects in different times.
To avoid making this post way too long, I’ve cut down the images from Blois into my very favorites that I think best highlight the property through my eyes. You can see from the images above and the two below that there are so many different styles built into this one property. It’s absolutely fascinating to experience these variations as you explore the many wings of the overall structure.
For the second stop, we planned a visit to Château de Cheverny, a glorious property owned by the Hurault family who at one point had to sell the estate but later repurchased it. The main building, itself, is quite small compared to other chateaux, though it’s grounds are incredibly expansive and even house dozens of hunting dogs.
Venturing inside, I loved the staircase, of course! I also enjoyed seeing the wedding gown of the owner’s wife. It was gorgeous!
This image was photographed from inside the main building looking toward the café, which had Cheverny-branded napkins that I snapped with my iPhone and almost brought home.
Once we left Cheverny, we departed for what had arguably the most grand garden on our itinerary and the last stop of our day- Château de Villandry. The house is magnificent, although not even remotely the main draw of the property.
Inside the home, we learned that a doctor purchased the property in the early 1900s in order to repair and enhance the beauty of the country house. He poured a great deal of time into designing the gardens, which you’ll soon see is quite apparent.
Can you honestly believe this view?
Having made our way back outside, we enjoyed a walk to the opposite side of the property. The view below is of the main house and the images following were taken along the wall to the left.
After writing over 1,000 words for this post, I think I’ve found a great stopping place. Be sure to come back Friday to see the 4th and final part of this post that includes one more chateau, Paris prettiness, and some images from a photo shoot that David and I booked for our last full day in the city.