Program 347: More Loire Valley Chateau Country; Exploring Brittany; Notorious Royal Marriages

Release Date: 12-13-2013

On Air Description

On this week's Travel with Rick Steves, we go deeper into the Loire Valley in central France, where dozens of historic estates are ready to impress you with everything from elaborate gardens and architecture, to authentic displays of medieval hunting and defense techniques.

Plus, two guides from the Celtic corner of France recommend the sites in Brittany, where even the rocks can show you a good time. And Leslie Carroll digs up juicy backstories on Europe's ruling families, and their "notorious royal marriages."

History comes to life, when you Travel with Rick Steves.


  • French tour guide Danielle Farineau 
  • Virginie Moré and Mark Seymour, tour guides based in Brittany
  • Leslie Carroll, author of "Notorious Royal Marriages"  and other titles about historical royalty  (NAL Trade)

Related Links

  • Among the varied Loire Valley chateaux that Danielle Farineau discusses are Chenonceau, Chambord, and Cheverny.  She also recommends viewing the Black Cadre equestrian team at the chateau of Saumur, and the chateau and gardens at Villandry
  • The Chaumont chateau hosts an International Garden Festival and all-season art exhibits.  
  • Carnac is a World Heritage Site in Brittany, containing more than 4,000 standing stones.
  • The annual Festival Interceltique de Lorient is the big Celtic music festival held every August in the town of Lorient in Brittany.
  • Leslie Carroll’s website and blog includes links to her latest work "Royal Romances," and her latest novel, "Confessions of Marie Antoinette," written under the pen name Juliet Grey.  
  • Leslie Carroll's books are listed on the Goodreads website.
  • An interview with Leslie Carroll, aka Juliet Grey, about completing her trilogy of Marie Antionette novels, is on the Between-the-Pages blog. 


  • "I would love to visit many chateaux in Loire area, however my spouse says he is 'castled out.'  Could you guide us to one that he may enjoy with a hunting/gun exhibit, sporting emphasis, or something else that might be more directed toward male interests?"  (Janice in Walnut Creek, California)
  • Asks for "a 5 to 7 day biking itinerary along the Loire River Valley. We are interested in both nature and history."   (Terry in Iowa City, Iowa)
  • "I'm a huge fan of Celtic music, and play the Scottish Highland bagpipe.  I'd love to include live traditional music and perhaps a couple of Breton piping lessons in a trip to Brittany.  How can I get more information about that?"  (Stacee in Sugar Land, Texas)
  • "We spent a week in Brittany and loved it!  We recommend seeing St. Malo, walking the beautiful coastal paths (and great Saturday market) of Dinard, the folk musée and faience in Quimper, and the mysterious stones of Carnac.  Stayed in Dinard and Vannes as bases."   (Lisa in Puyallup, Washington)

Incidental Music

  • The New York Kammermusiker, Double Reed Ensemble, “Marche des Mousquetaires du Roy de France,” A Baroque Celebration / Dorian
  • Orchestra arrangement by Gershon Kingsley, conducted by Pierre de la Roche, "Songs of the Auvergne, 2nd series, for voice and orchestra: 'Trois-Bourées'  (Canteloube)," Netania Davrath  - Canteloube:  Songs of the Auvergne - Complete / Vanguard Classics
  • Eddie Jobson, "Ballooning Over Texas," Piano One (collection) / Private Music-RCA
  • Les Violins du Roy, "Les Bourgeois de Chatre," Simphonies des noels / Dorian Recordings
  • John Doan, "Bransles de Village," The Renaissance Album (collection) / Windham Hill
  • Colin Tilney, "Rondeau-Le Gémissante (Dandrieu)," Fanfarinette:  Music for the French Harpsichord / CBC Records
  • * Rembrandt Trio, "Humoresque No. 7 (Dvorak)," The Dorian Stereo Morning Sampler (collection) / Dorian
  • Soldat Louis, "Bow Lane," Aupres de ma Bande / Les Disques Leïla-Distribution Select
  • Alan Stivell, "3rd Circle:  Gouell Hollvedel - Fête Universelle," Symphonie Celtique - Tir Na N-Og / Dreyfus (France)
  • Soldat Louis, "Y'a pire," Aupres de ma Bande / Les Disques Leïla-Distribution Select
  • Enya, "Bard Dance," The Celts / Reprise
  • * London Concertante, “‘Ostinato’ from ‘Saint Paul’s Suite’ (Holst),” English Serenade / CMG
  • New World Renaissance Band, “Pastime with Good Company (King Henry VIII),” The Renaissance Album (collection) / Windham Hill
  • New London Consort, cond. by Philip Pickett, “Dum pater familias,” The Pilgrimage to Santiago / L’Oiseau-Lyre
  • Ensemble Vocal et Instrumental Roger Blanchard, "Chantons, sonnons, trompettes (Jonequin)," Essential Renaissance, disc 1 (collection) / EMI Classics
  • Music from Aston Magna, "Andanta and variations," A Decade of Excellence (sampler) / Harmonia Mundi
  • Edward Flower and Joel Brown, guitars, “The Death of Queen Jane,” CBC Stereo Morning Sampler (collection) / Dorian
  • Ricercare Ensemble für AlteMusik, Zürich (Jordi Savall, cond.), “En vray amoure (composed by King Henry VIII),”   Essential Renaissance, disc 2 (collection) / EMI Classics

Program Extras

Program 347 Extra - Rick lists some of the most distinctive chateaux you can visit in the Loire Valley.