Today is the day my residence at the French chateau in Champagne ends – sad face. It ends for a good reason as I am about to embark on my French adventure proper and take my road trip to the Loire Valley. The plan is to spend 3-4 days there and visit as many of the famous chateaux as time permits. The weather looks good, the tank is full and I am raring to go.

Before that though, I need to bid my home for the past couple of days Au Revoir! I had a wonderful stay at a wonderful place. Le Château d’Etoges and its staff have set the bar very high. Let’s hope my hotel at the Loire Valley is not too big of a disappointment in comparison.

MORE: Le Château d’Etoges hotel review

There are four hours of solid driving between me and my next stop – Château de Chambord. This is a colossal château and a must-see. It has 440 rooms and a fireplace for every single day of the year. Yes, that’s right – 365 fireplaces and I am determined to see every single one of them.

MORE: Living it large at Château de Chambord

W*O*W, W*O*W, W*O*W and W*O*W again! I can’t tell you how happy I am to have visited the chateau that has been on my bucket list for as long as I’ve been going to France. Click on the link above to read the article about my visit there.

Back in the car and on to my new home for the next three nights. Is it as good as the last one? Well, it looks good on the outside which is a good sign. The grounds look well maintained and I am about to cross the bridge over the lake which stands between the main building and the gravelled car park.

I’m going to sleep in my car tonight

That was an “interesting” experience. I don’t even know where to start and how to express my disappointment with this place. The short story is that I am on my way to find another hotel.

It’s worth pointing out that I am in the middle of nowhere somewhere in the Loire Valley. There is no signal on my phone. I have no access to the Internet and it’s almost 8pm! Looks like I’m going to sleep in my car tonight!

Instead of panicking and wasting time on emotions, I loaded the list of hotels on my SatNav and decided to pick a name that sounds like a good place. So, Manoir Saint Thomas, here I come!

Driving into the sunset and looking up to the hot air balloons, hovering above good-looking chateaux is more romantic than you could imagine. It makes me think that I need to invest in a GoPro and start a road trip vlog on YouTube. Would you watch it?

It’s gone 9pm and after a short tour of Manoir Saint Thomas in Amboise, I am happy to report that I have a bed to sleep in and a roof over my head for the next couple of nights. It is an impressive manor house and a very comfortable hotel. I was right to choose it. Isabelle who is the owner, even offered to make me supper and bring it to my room. That is the very definition of a perfect hostess, is it not? Take a note, hotel owners.

My supper is here – pasta with salmon and a very cold beer. I leave you with a Google Map of my journey from Etoges to Château de Chambord.

PS: Follow my road trip on social media – @marclepenn and @lostpeony.

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