Coming from Los Angeles, I have lived in smog, but it was so thick here that it was equal to Bejing, i.e., dangerous. I’ve had a headache and people have been coughing all week:( The air pollution in Paris was so bad over the week-end that all public transportation was free, including rentals of all Velib bikes and Autolib electric cars from Friday until midnight tonight.

Thanks to good timing, my friends and I planned to leave for Chateau country on Friday to visit friends near Tours, so even though the air was not clear three hours away, it was still better than it was in Paris. It was safe enough in the countryside to actually be outside, so we went on a tour of Chateau Azay-le-Rideau (8.50 € or about $12 per adult).

This chateau is on an island which made a natural moat of protection around it.

The entries and stairs were all sculpted out of marble

including the handrails.

One of the bedrooms, but

of course there was more than one bedroom.

Since the only heat was with fireplaces, every room had one.

One of their lounging areas for card games or conversation.

These are the windows in the previous shot that the sun was shining through.

Their billard table for times when the weather made staying indoors more fun.

This is the attic where they kept the grain; it takes a huge amount of food to feed a chateau full of people!

There was a place to pray in between rooms (maybe for luck before playing cards).

This is one of the smallest chateau, but it is so picturesque and well maintained that you can almost imagine living here:)