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Meet the Castle: Château de Chenonceau

Did you know that Château de Chenonceau was a gift from King Henry II of France to his mistress Diane de Poitiers? She didn’t get to keep it, though. Chateau de Chenonceau is the third castle of the Loire Valley we visit during our weekend trip. One of the most remarkable aspects of this chateau’s history is its almost uninterrupted succession down the line of fascinating women. Here’s a brief overview of the chateau’s history and why we love it so much.

Meet the Castle: Château de Cheverny

Did you know that Château de Cheverny was the inspiration for the fictional Marlinspike Hall  (Château de Moulinsart in French) in the Adventures of Tintin books? Chateau de Cheverny is the second castle of the Loire Valley we visit during our weekend trip. Here are a few reasons why we love this castle. Practically untouched Accounts vary about the chateau’s construction which dates anywhere between the 15th and 16th century. The original owner of the estate, Henry Le Mareschau, sold the estate to Jean Hurault, whose grandson, Jacques Hurault became the first Marquis de Vibraye. Cheverny thus became the official seat of the Marquis de Vibraye. The property has remained in the same family for over six centuries; this is probably why the chateau has practically maintained its classica...

The Cathedrals of Europe

Yesterday’s fire at the Notre Dame in Paris was not only a shock to the Parisians and French people, but also to the rest of the world. Cathedrals, unlike any other building except for castles, have stood the test of time. But where castles have remained closed but for the happy few, at least until recently, Cathedrals have welcomed billions of visitors over many centuries, including countless tourists (13 million per year for this church alone). The destruction of a great part of this Paris landmark saddens us all. Most of the people in the Expat Club community have visited this incredible structure, possibly even multiple times. During the many Expat Club trips to Paris, our groups always stopped at the Eastern end of the Île de la Cité. Just to look and be amazed by the iconic towers an...

4 Interesting facts about Mont Saint-Michel

This UNESCO World Heritage location has captured the imagination for centuries, thanks to its architecture and place on an islet with one of the highest tides in Europe. Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most famous landmarks in France, visited by over 3 million visitors each year. The impressive views of Mont Saint-Michel have inspired popular culture, from books and classical music to Hollywood movies and video games. Here are 4 interesting facts about Mont Saint-Michel. 1. A celestial vision The building plans for Mont Saint-Michel were put in motion in the year 708 with a dream. Legend says the Archangel Michael came to Bishop Aubert of Avranches on three separate occasions, instructing him to build a church on the rocky island. Actual completion of the monastery would only happen severa...