One More Reason to visit France.

If you’re at all like me, you not only love to travel, but there are things—views or buildings or a scene somewhere that sticks in you mind. If you’re lucky and have the time and the money, those things draw you back. For me, France is always the primary attraction

Regulars here know that the small medieval town of Domme is one such place for me. It’s the small hotel (just 14 rooms) with an outdoor patio where you can enjoy a wonderful luncheon while basking in the charming view across the lovely Dordogne River valley.

Then there’s this charming little castle—“little” being a relative term—located in the town of Azay-le-Rideau in the Loire Valley. Built over a period of 10 years in the early 1500s, the castle’s owner, Gilles Berthelot, was apparently a financial advisor to King Francis the First.

Gilles may have paid for this modest-sized castle, but his wife, Phillippa, supervised the construction, which took 11 years (from 1518 to1529). She also diverted a small part of the nearby Indre River to achieve the appearance of a moat surrounding their castle.

Then one day King Francis decided to pay a visit to the home of his advisor/friend, Gilles Berthelot.  The king took one look at this beautiful little castle and said, in so many words, “the only way my pal, Gilles, could afford a place like this would be by stealing from me!” Apparently the king’s anger was sufficient incentive and Gilles Berthellot disappeared . . . with his talented wife, I assume.

I’ve been to Azay-le-Rideau twice, both times spending hours walking around and through the castle or sitting under a tree outside and admiring that beautiful building. Just one more reason to visit la belle France encore une fois.