Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Making Memories in Tours

Pages from Jan's Travel Journal: April 18, 2014

After lunch, we continued our exploration of Tours. We wanted to visit the cathedral that we had passed by earlier in the day. Mathieu, who had been to Tours only once before and had never visited the cathedral, led us straight to it. He had an uncanny sense of direction and was easily able to locate any site we wanted to visit, which earned him the nickname of "MapMan". 

Saint Gatien Cathedral in Tours, France.

Saint Gatien Cathedral was built between 1170 and 1547. It is a magnificent structure and is definitely worth a visit. The exquisite stained-glass windows are breathtaking to behold. You can also view the tomb of the children of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany, who died as infants.

The Cathedral of Saint Gatien. Looking toward the pipe organ 
and one of the beautiful stained glass windows.

As we continued our walking tour, we stopped to gaze at the ancient Tour de Charlemagne not pictured), which is almost all that remains of the 4th-century Romanesque Basilica of Saint Martin. Each year, in November, a feast is held in honor of St. Martin.

We dined at this wonderful restaurant in Tours, Leonard da Vinci.

That evening, we dined early at the restaurant Leonard da Vinci, which is located just off la Place Plumereau. The restaurant was absolutely charming. I'm glad we arrived early, because that enabled me to photograph the interior without intruding upon other patrons. Our meal was superb from start to finish. We began with a starter of olives marinated in balsamic vinegar and oil, and had a delicious rustic bread to accompany it. We then enjoyed the main course of pasta seasoned with truffle oil and topped with seared foie gras, thinly-sliced Italian ham, and fresh Parmesan. It was exquisite! The foie gras literally melted on the tongue and was rich and satisfying. Our desserts were delightful as well. Darcy and I shared the chocolate and caramel lava cake, while Mathieu enjoyed the profiteroles. We lingered as long as possible in the quaint dining room, but soon had to be on our way if we were going to catch the train for our return to Orléans.

The interior of the restaurant Leonard da Vinci in Tours is both rustic and elegant.

Tagliatelles Leonard de Vinci, 
one of the specialty dishes at the restaurant.

As we were hurrying toward the train station and were walking briskly through one of the busiest intersections in Tours, I suddenly tripped and fell hard on the stones surrounding the tramway. I was surprised to find myself on the ground; it had happened so quickly! Mathieu and Darcy rushed to help me to my feet and picked up my scattered packages. I was quite embarrassed, and even though I was in a lot of pain, I just wanted to get out of there. Three police officers approached and asked if I was okay. I tried to assure them that I would be fine, though it took some convincing. 

The large and efficient train station in Tours, France.

As we continued our walk to the station at a much slower pace, I began to wonder if I was really okay. My left foot and both knees were hurting terribly, and my hands were scraped. I continued to follow Darcy and Mathieu, certain that I would feel much better once I was seated on the train. Returning to Orléans, no one was more disappointed than I to discover that the tram was closed for some overnight construction! The 25-minute walk to the apartment was excruciating. Darcy carefully guided me along in the darker areas, so that I would not trip a second time. We were all glad to be home, and I was soon snuggled into my comfy bed, telling myself that all would be well in the morning.      

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