Thursday, June 23, 2011

Chateau d'Amboise

After Chenonceau, we visited the sprawling Chateau d'Amboise (map).  This, of course in France, is another place with a long and twisted history.  Our guide talked about inhabitants back to Gallo-Roman times, but more about the Chateau itself.  It's in a strategic place between provinces, on the river, and has been the barrier or the site of many bitter struggles.
Let's see--what stood out--that the Chateau was confiscated from a rebel, who kept his head, but lost his property to the Crown; that Charles VIII secretly married his true love Anna there in 1491, avoiding some more politic, less appealing arrangement--curiously, in the year before the world changed in scale and center. 

It's a place complete with gargoyles...
vaulted ceilings,
and suits of armor (Sam posed by one, and well, would have needed 4 sizes larger)...
I found a house between the Chateau and the river that I'd be happy to vacation in...

Some rooms were still furnished, and we got an exhaustive (-ting) account of every rug and chair from our local guide, who much needs to watch Love Among the Ruins.  But nice touches, with some flowers there in a royal chamber.
It helps to imagine what luxury might have been here in richer days.

We got a glimpse of what once would have been extensive grounds and gardens.  Our wiki-guru tells us that, "Amboise was the site where a garden laid out somewhat in the Italian manner was first seen in France: the site of the origin of the French formal garden," and that "King Francis I was raised at Amboise, which belonged to his mother, Louise of Savoy, and during the first few years of his reign the château reached the pinnacle of its glory. As a guest of the King, Leonardo da Vinci came to Château Amboise in December 1515 and lived and worked in the nearby Clos Lucé, connected to the château by an underground passage."  And that may have been the most exciting thing here, the chapel...
where Leonardo is now supposedly buried.
They aren't sure they moved the right bones, from somewhere nearby in the courtyard, but perhaps this is as close as we will come.  Sadly, we had no time to go visit the nearby house where Leonardo lived out his last days...

Maybe one more trip to France.  I didn't get anywhere close to the Lascaux cave paintings this trip either.

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