Last weekend, I went on for a balade à vélo, a bike ride, to visit the Castle of Villandry. Of all the castles I’ve visited so far, this would have to be one of my favourites. The audio guide was informative and simple to use, the décor was beautiful and all the windows looked out onto the beautiful gardens.
We were lucky enough to visit at a time when there was a concert being held in the salon. Two local singers and a pianist performed a range of pieces, many of them to do with the history of the castle, it’s inhabitants and the Touraine region. My favourite was La Chanson de la Touraine, which is an ode to the region that draws inspiration from the story of Panurge and Pantagruel by François Rabelais – very proud and over the top. My favourite lines include:
Touraine est un pays Au ciel bleu …. Rien ne la vaut !
Touraine is a country of blue sky … nothing beats it!
Les blés y sont plus hauts et les femmes plus belles !
The wheat is taller and the women prettier!
C’est un vrai paradis ! un paradis!
It’s a true paradise! A paradise!
I’m not sure about the arguments for why it’s such a paradise (I haven’t been watching the women, nor have I seen any wheat growing) but I still agree: it’s a beautiful place to be. It was fantastic to hear some live music, and to think of all the similar concerts and evenings that would have taken place in this castle over the centuries.