More desk chair tourism

I did a post on Google Earth tourism last March.

Something I’ve just discovered in the last few days is that the chateaux of the Loire Valley have been very thoroughly visited by the Google van – blue lines all over everything, so you can see the gardens, the approaches, outbuildings, and the chateau from far and close and from all angles. You could spend hours just looking at one chateau. Look up Chenonceau or Chambord, if you’re interested.

Versailles has also been thoroughly Google-photographed.

I should check out the Taj Mahal one of these days…


  1. Hertta says

    I’ve visited Chambord. It was definitely more beautiful from the outside. Inside it looked unfinished and bleak, but I guess castles aren’t supposed to be cosy. It would of course also cost millions to keep it decorated just for tourists and egalitarian democracies have better uses for taxpayers’ money.

    I’ve been to the military base in Versailles but not the castle. Can’t believe I missed that chance. If I take a desk chair tour, can I cross it off my bucket list?

  2. says

    Heh. That’s between you and your conscience. The way I look at it – we can’t go everywhere and see everything, and it’s really fun to be able to get a good visual sense of places. Maybe that’s more true of me than of most people, because tramping around looking at the outside of everything is really what I like best.

  3. Julia F says

    Hertta —
    I agree that Chambord is a little bare. If you want to see luxe palaces you have to go to Britain. Most of the stately homes were never stripped of their art and furnishings in revolutions or wars.

    I had the same reaction to the palace at Versailles when I saw it, many years ago. I thought the famous hall of mirrors was rather dull compared to the lobby of the Carib cinema in Miami Beach where I grew up. On the other hand the Grand Trianon, on the same site was restored by Napoleon and it is a real treat.

  4. Hertta says


    That’s between you and your conscience.

    Well, I can say I’ve been to Versailles (no need to mention it was the town of Versailles and not the castle) and (after my tour) I can say I’ve seen the hut itself. Château de Versailles

    Julia F,
    I’m more interested in the architecture than the furnishings anyway. I’m not a romantic and I don’t think there’s anything to romanticize about the gross inequality and slavery that helped produce those architectural pearls. I feel the same way about cathedrals. The history is interesting and the buildings are beautiful, and if they are turned into hotels, coffee shops or community centers, all the better.

  5. Jurjen S. says

    I was watching a Norwegian film called Trollhunter on Netflix streaming the other night, and I managed to do a fair job of following the routes taken using Google Maps including Streetview.

  6. says

    The chateaux keep Le Tour de France from being as boring as test cricket. The long stretches where nothing much is happening in the race is alleviated by helicopter shots of beautiful buildings and mini history lessons from Paul Sherwin.

  7. says

    I never really thought of doing that! I’m having a blast looking at the castles I’ve been to and using Google Earth to guide my brain down memory lane! Chateau Chillon is by far the best, though 😉

  8. says

    I know, isn’t it fun? I alternate between looking at places I have been and looking at places I haven’t been. I’m currently exploring the coast of Norway. A few minutes on Sognefjord this morning – it’s absolutely staggering. Bucket list.

    Nothing but the best for Byron, eh.

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