The Loire Valley France is the first stop on our political, historical tour, of Artistic France. First we shall visit the Chateau Chambord, with over 400 room, 80 stair cases, and 300 chimneys. It is a place of renaissances politics, mired with scandal. Next stop is the house of renaissance artist Leonardo DaVinci, who came to France at 63 and died at 67. Finally, we end our trip at the chateau de Chenonceau, called the chateau of the ladies. The Loire valley is the heart of the French country, where kings built chateaus from the 16th-18th century. As such it is the site of Historical events in French politics.
First visit, the chateau Chambord, a prime place to be introduced to the political history of France. French Politics is based on scandal, sex scandal, and show offs. The chateau was build by Francois the 1st to impress the kings and Emperors of Europe. Most importantly the King and Emperor of Spain, Charles the 1st. A key, political event that happened at Chambord was a meeting between Henry the 8th of England and Francois the 1st. The meet was supposed to happen as an alliance against Spain, but, scandal transpired.
As it was common, Francois, a tall elegant man, like to show off and fight with Royal visitors. So in a fight with Henry the 8th Francois bit, his face, and this offended Henry. As a result Francois, and Henry did not that pact against Spain.
Chambord, has a special painting where Leonardo DaVinci, is depicted in on his death bed in the arms of Francois the 1st. However, this depiction is a legend. It is well known that Francois was away for the birth of this son Henry the 2nd. This fact is validated because his signature on his son’s birth certificate. DaVinci’s life or twilight years; plays a role in the history of the Loire. His house, Clos Luce is our next stop. There we will discover how DaVinci’s life and death play into the history of the Loire Valley.
Thought the legend of Francois the first at Leonardo’s bedside is appreciated in France, I prefer to focus on the life of a Renaissance man who visionary thoughts propelled modernization. Leonardo’s house is a simple chateau once a fortified establishment, today, is appreciated by lovers of the art of science and the science of art. The garden at Clos De Luc is a true marvel with a strong emotional connection to nature, wonder surrounds every corner. Fleur and fauna alike mix in the shade of the trees with foggy pools, and babbling waterfalls. A secret passage connects, the Chateaux to Chambord. Francois would go alone to talk with DaVinci and used the secret passage to avoid crowds.
Later, Francois son, Henry 2nd would bring sex scandal to Chambord. Henry II’s mistress, Diane de Poitiers, was given a mansion, Château de Chenonceau, close to Chambord and Clos de Luce, by his wife, Catherine De’Medici. Formerly a fortified castle located near the town of Tours.
Château de Chenonceau is a beautiful place filled with wonderful smells, fresh flowers, a vegetable garden, maze, and long walks lined with shady trees. The rooms are elegantly decorated with curious paintings by Dutch and Italian masters alike. The black and white room was Diane de Poitier’s bed room. Curiously thought, there is a painting of Catherine de Medici in the room, ever the reminder that she was the wife of the King and a Queen, but, Diane de Poitier held his heart as hers.
The Loire Valley is a beautiful example of the French Country side, frequented by Kings for hunts, the forest of Chambord is over 2000 acres and still home to wild animals. Though, current French President Szarcozy is not a fan of the hunt it remains a part of French Political history. A few hours car ride from Paris, and one can get lost in the French Countryside, come to know what French Politics is all about, and discover the magic of a renaissance of man with nature.