An Ode to the Loire Valley

Pastels.

Flowers.

Castles.

Easter is full of happiness, thanksgiving, love and sunshine. Every year, I spend this weekend with my family and we have Easter egg hunts, all the chocolate we can choke down, Grandma’s yummy dirt pudding and lots of laughter. I love Easter weekend and cherish the memories I’ve had with family during these times over the years. I’ve never been away for Easter, until this year. Living in Paris, I’ve missed out on a lot of family time over the past seven months and sometimes I kick myself over it. I can’t bear the thought of missing out on my baby cousins growing up without me, being away during holidays and not getting to bear hug my Momma every day. Sometimes it’s really hard being a world away.

Other times, it’s only bearable because I have such a wonderful family here in Paris. When I moved, I moved completely away from all of my family and had none here. However, I quickly became close with the most wonderful group of ladies.. but they’re not my friends – they are my family. They are more than a friend could ever be; they’re who I run to when I can’t bear the stress of a Parisian life, they’re who I run to when I feel like I’m going to die if I’m away from my parents any longer, they’re who I run to when I feel all alone in this vast city – they are my family. And this weekend, I had a spectacular adventure with my French family.

So yeah, this year I missed Easter with my family. Honestly, it didn’t hit me until I was literally FaceTiming them during an egg hunt and all the babies and little ones were excitedly running about and screaming about their eggs. Being four inches tall and having to be passed around is quite convenient while I’m away but it still doesn’t compare to actually being there. As I was being shuffled about through the crowd of my family, I found myself holding back the tears with all that I had because I knew that if I lost it, my Mom & Dad would too and I wasn’t about to ruin such a beautiful day for everyone. So, I chatted and laughed with the family for a bit and saw the eggs and smiles and said my goodbyes and hung up. Then I found myself on the bathroom floor so upset over missing out on yet another great time in our family back home. A few seconds later, I heard a knock at the door and Gemma walked in to make me smile and hug me until I was cheered up and ready to go for the next day’s adventures. So, when I say that my girls here are my family, I truly mean it. I’d be lost without these magnificent women who make me laugh, smile and sing every day.

That being said, let’s move on from the sappiness and get to the princess-y castle-y part of the story. This Easter weekend, I spent my time in the beautiful Loire Valley of France. This is the area in France with the largest concentration of castles within the country. Seriously, while driving down the road to our next destination, we would see at least two castles just sitting on the hillside yearning for us to come inside. I’ve gotta say that this was one of the best weekends I’ve had in my life.

As our game plan, we each picked a castle we wanted to see the most and then set out on a journey to discover all that our choices had to offer. So, we each picked one and then we also all agreed on two others that were quite famous that we’d all like to go to as well.

Here are the picks:

They were all so beautiful and exotic and nothing like what I’ve seen before. Buuuuut, I gotta say that mine was my favorite. As we were driving through the quaint little village that rests at the bottom of the hill that Chaumont reigns upon, I knew I was going to fall in love instantly but I held in my excitement.. for as long as I could..

As soon as we began the trek up the hill to the castle, I started skipping and squealing in happiness. It was EXACTLY like all the castles that Disney showed me when I was growing up in a land of no castles. So you can imagine my excitement in viewing such a masterpiece. The castle itself was glorious and beautiful but the area it was in was the cherry on top. It’s situated right atop the Loire River and overlooks the village. It’s surrounded by a vast forest and fields and I couldn’t help but frolic everywhere; I was in awe to say the least. It even had a posh farmhouse and stables for the horses but even though it was fancy, it still looked exactly like something out of the 17th Century. Aaaand it’s 1,000 years old. Say whaaaaat?

Playing princess <3

Princess <3

Spring blooming within Chaumont's chapel <3

Spring blooming within Chaumont’s chapel <3

Chaumont; flowers and trees and sunshine abundant.

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