To begin with in France it mostly rained. It was wet in Giverny again, though not so much that we couldn't visit the gardens. Made for disappointing photos though and the hordes of tourists make it almost impossible now.
The drive really sapped his energy but we had 5 days remaining there to recuperate and take things gently. So we did not see all the chateaux we had hoped but we did see Azay le Rideau, Fontevraud Abbey, Montsoreau and and the town of Candes St Martin. We got a few days of reasonable weather.
As we moved on we detoured to a place called Oradour Sur Glane which was a town entirely destroyed by the Nazis in WW2 and now kept as it is as a memorial. Basically they herded all the women and children into the church and lobbed in some grenades and shot the men in groups around the village. Over 600 people and no reason ever discovered except that it was planned and deliberate. I heard that only one person was ever imprisoned about it.Then they burned the town down. It is incredibly moving to see the remains of the pram in the church or a bed in a house, the tiles on the butcher's wall which would have been blue to repel flies, now all black, or the tram line and overhead wires in the street. The French keep it weeded and mowed but make no attempt to restore it. It breaks your heart both for what was lost and for man's calculated inhumanity to man.
On to Les Griffons a lovely small hotel in Bourdeilles which is on the river Dronne. We were right on the river with a window looking out on the bridge. Sunny when we arrived after driving through heavy rain so we saw the river looking pretty and sat in the sun for dinner that night (and watched the river rise...and rise) People had to move their cars from the parking lot.
Apart from some fine evenings it poured and sightseeing was rather curtailed though we saw some chateaux, including the one in town and some lovely churches. We visited an abbey at Chancelade and the priest we spoke to (Augustinian Canon Regular) told us of a tiny priory called Prieure de Merland set in the woods so we went there too. It was partly Roman and incredibly moving.
The food has been good, some excellent food on the last night at Chinon but especially in Bourdeilles, where the hotel had a very good kitchen . I ate carpaccio of raw fish seasoned with a vinaigrette dressing, roast breast of duckling cooked rosy with an almond flavoured sauce (not at all fatty) and a chocolate cake with tiny sour cherry garnish (griottines) that oozed sauce when I cut it. Not recommended by my dietician but very, very good.
Tomorrow night we eat at an experimental restaurant in Pauillac, highly acclaimed but we may be asked to inhale perfumes as we eat or eat food in a certain order to develop full flavours. Should be fun. I will report later.