Camping with Canvas Holidays - Chapter 3: Château Des Marias
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Are we there yet? Yes we are!
Leaving the town of painters behind, it was time to drive the 215 miles to the camp site and fill in the blank canvas that was camping without the children (see what I did there?). Talking of Canvas Holidays, their directions to Muides-sur-Loire and the site were spot on, a rare thing in my experience. We were enthusiastically greeted by the bubbly Marissa, one of Canvas' on site reps, who gave us the code to the barrier (nice security feature) and led us to our accommodation. As she was just about to explain the essentials of our stay, I made a special effort not to accidentally run her over as I followed her bike in our car. We had the 2 bedroom select mobile home, which was set in a quiet wooded area, with plenty of dappled shade. The people who design cabins for cruise ships are probably the same who design these mobile homes. Plenty of nooks and crannies to store things in a relatively compact space. When I spotted the size of the wardrobe in our double bedded room, I was regretting the blue or red dress....take them both conversation. Then we remembered there were just the 2 of us and the second bedroom was instantly transformed into a walk in wardrobe....sorted. We had a spacious and comfortable lounge to relax in, with folding table that helped make good use of the space available. UK 3 pin sockets were also a welcome addition, so no fiddly adaptors to worry about. Showering in our en-suite bathroom needed to be undertaken with your brain in gear. When I dropped the soap, I managed to bang my head and backside at the same time. You can picture it can't you and you're laughing too I bet. Linda did use her brain and annexed the "kids" en-suite shower which was twice the size.
Outside was a raised decking area with table, chairs and umbrella, perfect for outdoor dining and cups of tea whilst writing blogs for silvertraveladvisor. Chairs, sun loungers and BBQ complete the "ahhh this is all very relaxing" kit. The grounds are very well maintained and the woodland nature of the site means it breaks up the layout for the tents and mobile homes. This means you're not looking at endless rows of campers but have a succession of quiet secluded areas. It's probably worth mentioning that this was term time, so there were only a modest number of children here, mainly under 5s and a few teenagers. There were plenty of silvers around though, a lot of them from the UK.
Talking to one silver couple later, they never stopped camping after the children left home and love this type of holiday. An information centre is on site, with details of things to do in the area, plus the Canvas Holidays office have some local information too. As well as the open grassy areas, flower beds and swimming pools, there is a reading & games room. Wi-Fi is available near the bar and supposedly throughout the site but I struggled to get it from our mobile home.
Our first excursion off site was to the nearest major attraction which is a jewel of the French Renaissance, Château de Chambord, the largest in the Loire Valley. When Francois I started the build in 1519, he set out to impress everyone who came here and WOW did he get that right. This Château sports an amazing collection of turrets, chimneys and lanterns, which make Cinderella's castle look a bit boring really. We took advantage of the English audio guide to steer us round this architectural wonder. It was well worth the 4 euros each to get all the background and follow a route that did its best not to miss any of the selection of 440 rooms, 365 fireplaces, 84 staircases and 4500 works of art covering paintings, tapestries and furniture, that were accessible to us. The most impressive staircase is the double-helix staircase that Leonardo da Vinci may well have had a hand in designing. 90 ish rooms later we reached the rooftop terraces with panoramic views over the estate and a close up view of many of the turrets etc. To rest our legs and absorb some of the information we'd just listened to, we had a picnic in the vast and impressive grounds that surround the Château. They are claimed to be the largest enclosed forest park in Europe, with 5440 hectares to enjoy.
Returning to the camp site at the end of an amazing day, to cook or not to cook, that was the question. Do we break out the beans or head for the restaurant?
Find out in Chapter 4!
- Read Chapter 1: Camping, who me?
- Read Chapter 2: The bag and the carousel
- Read Chapter 4: On yer bike!
- Read Chapter 5: Testing the hypothesis
- Read Chapter 6: I kissed the girl!
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