We left our hotel in Amboise early on the sixth day of our European vacation. We had a 5:30pm flight to catch from Paris’ to Switzerland. Before the airport we wanted to stop along the way in the city of Chartres. Chartres is a little town well known for one thing: it’s grand cathedral. The structure dominates the town.
The labyrinth in the floor’s stone work impressed me. A priest sits inside a booth for people to speak and pray with. Outside on the back terrace the town of Chartres displays itself and another labyrinth in a terrace lawn. We walked around the cathedral’s ornate exterior.
From Chartres we walked back to the car and drove to Paris’s airport. We caught our flight to Basel. This airport sits on the border of three nations. After we found the door for the Swiss exit we caught a bus to the Basel train station. The town is industrial and modern. At Basel’s train station we purchased our Swiss rail passes and boarded a train to Lucerne.
We arrived in Lucerne around 10pm and hopped on a bus to our hotel. Then Carolyn and I went out for a walk to see the town at night. We walked the iconic Chapel bridge. It was Saturday night so we looked up service times for the Jesuit church on the waterfront. That leads us to our next episode with highlights from a full day in Lucerne.
We started our 5th day in France at a bakery near our hotel in Amboise then we headed to the Chenonceau early. We were the first ones through the gate but people rushed past us as we marched to the chateau.
Originally the home stood over the river with an almost-square floor plan. Prince Henry II gave the home to his mistress as a gift. Henri’s mistress commissioned a bridge over the river for new gardens on the opposite side of the river. 12 years later King Henry II died and his Queen claimed the home for herself. She built two galleries on the mistress’ bridge. In WWI those galleries served as a military hospital. In WWII the river below the bridge formed part of the border between occupied France and unoccupied France. Many were smuggled through this home to freedom across the water.
After we walked through the house I went out back.
Then I joined up with Carolyn and my mom in the front yard.
On the grounds they have a maze.
After visiting the Chenonceau we headed back to Amboise for lunch. We took a walking tour that started at the Romanesque church dating back to the 1100s. We sauntered down the Rue national, the main pedestrian drag.
We crossed part of the Loire river to an island in the middle of the Loire for cheese and wine as the sun set.
Before Paris, Amboise was the seat of medieval France’s power. Now it’s a pleasure town.
Join us next time when we visit the Chartes cathedral before heading into Switzerland for our first night in Lucerne.