Travelling in France – Amboise

Just a couple of hundred kilometres south of Dreux we arrived at a busy, noisy but popular spot which almost mirrors Saumur in layout and activity. For a start, the Aire we have chosen, the better of two in the city, is on an island in the river next to a large campsite and looking across at the chateau which, like Saumur’s, towers over the bank of the river to one side and the thoroughfares of commerce on the other.

Amboise is classed as important in French history because it was the home of a number of French kings and the whole family of Medici children. At the same time it was the locus for one of the many Hugenot uprisings which was ruthlessly put down by the Catholics and the perpetrators hung from the battlements of the chateau. They have long gone now but the beautiful chateau remains.

Today was Saturday and full of people in mediaeval dress and wedding cars pursued by a procession of loud, revving motorbikes. The sun was hot and the atmosphere very close so we took shelter in a patisserie teashop at the bottom of the hill. Temperature in the Tribby hit 38C in the evening and we sat outside sharing the sunshade of our Belgian neighbours, chatting about everything under the sun.

Unusually, Sunday is a massive market day so we decided to extend our stay another night and then share the driving on the long journey down to the Dordogne. The market is large, varied and bustling probably as big as Barnsley Market in its heyday. We come away with oranges, a melon, radishes, tomatoes, olives, tapenarde verte and bread and a new laguinole butter knife.

After lunch sitting with our neighbours they head off on their bicycles and we sit in the shade reading. With all doors and windows in the Tribby open the temperature climbs to 42C. We make a note to replace our roof vent over the bed with a fan-assisted one as soon as we get home.

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