We left Bayeux early Thursday morning, October 17, and drove about 2 and a half hours to the Loire river valley where we started with the Chateau of Chambord.  The young King Francis I was 25 years old in 1519 when he initiated the building of Chambord.  It was initially intended as a hunting lodge but the architecture makes it an extravagant chateau with 77 staircases, 282 fireplaces and 426 rooms of which only 80 are open to the public.  Francis I only spent 72 days here but his son, Henry II, and Louis XIV were both responsible for the way it looks today.  After we saw all we could here we drove another hour south to the Chateau De Chenonceau and checked into our cute little hotel which was just around the corner of the chateau.  This particular chateau is known for being “the ladies chateau”.  In 1547, King Henry II donated this chateau to his favorite lady, Diane de Poitiers.  But after Henry died, his widow, Catherine de’ Medici, removed Diane, and as regent governed France from the chateau.  In 1589, on the death of her husband Henry III, Louise of Lorraine went into morning at the chateau.  That is why there were beautiful flower arrangements throughout the chateau – in honor of the women that lived there.  The chateau is built on the river Cher and dates back to the 16th century.  This particular area of France is dotted with a lot of beautiful chateaux but we feel we chose two very different but equally interesting examples of chateau life back in the day.