Paris offers a unique tour into and along the sewer system of Paris. A trip on the Seine carries the visitor past Notre Dame and through much of old Paris. Then most visitors enjoy sitting with an aperitif or wine in a sidewalk cafe.
The Loire Valley, the Garden of France, about two hours by car or train from Paris, is perhaps the next stop. More than 120 chateaux with names like Amboise, Chambord and Richelieu grace the Valley. Tours is the principal town. Loire wines such as Vouvray and Chinon served with the local fish, cheese, and desserts are rewards unto themselves.
Each chateau tells a story of love or power or greed or conspicuous consumption. At Mainey the Chateau Vaux-Le-Vicomte is a story of greed and covetousness; greed on the part of Financial Secretary Fouquet who built the chateau with tax money; covetousness by young King Louis XIV, who on August 17, 1661, arrived for a sumptuous feast. The palace was more beautiful and impressive than any held by Louis. Soon afterwards Fouquet was arrested and the chateau changed hands. Today the gardens, waters, grottos, and park are considered the most beautiful in France after those at Versailles.
Sixty miles southwest of Paris is Chartres Cathedral, one of the best known and loveliest of the world of cathedrals. It is less than an hour by train from Paris’ Montparnasse station. It is said to be the only great Gothic cathedral to have survived wars, reformations and revolutions comparatively unscathed. Chartres rests on seven hundred years of history and has three thousand square feet of stained glass illustrating aspects of life and faith during the Middle Ages. It displays so much fine sculpture that Rodin, the famous French sculptor, called it the French Acropolis.
From France history: The discovery of how to employ gunpowder weapons at sea also proved to be of great importance to Europeans. Paris Map Large, sturdy ships built to survive the storms of northern waters also served as solid platforms for cannon. Broadsides fired from such ships provided an enormous volume of firepower from a mobile platform able to carry a nation’s power around the globe. The English in particular enjoyed great success at sea; English ships served as the wooden walls of their country and allowed British forces unprecedented mobility. The combination of land and sea forces offered the British tremendous operational flexibility, which they would exploit often in the Seven Years’ War and the Country War for Independence.
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