Early this morning we took the 6:15 AM Talys fast train from Amsterdam to Paris Nord. This was several days in a row without adequate sleep, and my feeling about getting up at 5 AM was fairly captured by this shot from the train window in Amsterdam Central Station.
The train was delayed as it entered France, and that caused us to miss our continuing connection from Paris to St. Pierre des Corps (a suburb of Tours) on the TGF fast train, where we were to pick up a rental car to drive to Chinon for a four-day stay. We needed to get from Gare du Nord to Gare du Montparnasse in Paris, and the traffic was just as congested as in New York City. Fortunately, once we got to the Montparnasse station, we were able (with some difficulty) to switch our reservation to a later TGF train, and we got to St. Pierre des Corps in time for grab a quick lunch and pick up the car.
The drive to Chinon, an ancient city in the central Loire Valley, was easy thanks to Siri and Google Maps, and we checked into our very pleasant B&B. It's located in the old part of town (part of the building dates to the 15th C), bordered by narrow, winding streets.
An impressive old church is nearby.
Chinon prides itself on being the birthplace of Rabelais...
... and the place where Joan of Arc came to persuade Charles VII (who had his court there) to rise up and claim the throne from the English and Burgundians. Impressive statues to both stand in prominent squares.
The Loire Valley recently suffered severe flooding, and although the waters have subsided by now, they are still impressive as they flow through the main bridge in Chinon.
The plane trees along the river were beautiful in the afternoon light.
One modern touch as we wandered the old city center: a dog groomer.