Second last chateau for the series:
Chateau de Chaumont-Sur-Loire
So what can we say about this chateau? The gardens are magnificent and large enough to host rather extravagant floral shows, one of which we were able to witness while we were there. It was a mixture of some modern art and some clever landscaping. “Different” is probably how we would describe it.
The chateau itself is grand and the architecture is as memorable as the others we have shared. Standing outside prior to entering and all we see is this dreamily romantic and fairy tale-like castle from the outside.
This chateau has a soap opera story to go with.
Queen Catherine de Medici bought the chateau in 1550.
Legend tells that due to her superstitions and “predictions” of a possible dynasty downfall from her astrologers; Nostradamus and Cosimo Ruggieri, she wanted to exchange homes with Diane de Poitiers, her husband’s former mistress who lived in Chateau de Chenonceau*, a slightly more modest home.
In 1562, Diane de Poitiers took possession of Chaumont. And the chateau owes its current appearance to her.
She also had her initials and emblems added into the designs around the place. (Look above the fireplace in the picture below – the Greek letter delta and the three circles).
All the historical apartments adorned with the period furnishings and furniture. Although similar style to the other chateaux we visited, there was something slightly more warming and welcoming about this one. Quite possible that it was actually someone’s home, so lived in and therefore decorated with a little more care.
But what we found most interesting about this chateau were the horse stables, apparently one of the best preserved horse stables of the 19th Century. It really was such a fascinating time in history.
*Chateau de Chenonceau will be featured in our next and final instalment of the series which will be after this one.
Chaumont is approximately 43 km east of Tours.
Have you visited Chaumont?
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We have been missing in action… a lot has been going on! We’re planning our next trip… FINALLY! We are off to New Zealand in September – but that’s not what this post is about.
Sharing with you the 6th chateau (and third last) in the series:
Majestically located, looking down on the town of Amboise and Loire River, this fortress (or chateau) was a palace during the Renaissance. From the outside, you can clearly see why. It’s location provided security for the royal family (at least when they were staying there).
It allowed great visibility of the dangers below and any incoming threats via the river.
Once inside the grounds, the first thing we visit is St Hubert Chapel – the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci who died in Amboise in May 1519. This small chapel was crowded with visitors and also was a spot for refuge as the rain came down on the day we were there.
Again, as with the other chateaus we have shared – from room to room, we spot the necessary large fireplaces, the token suit of armour(s) and the colourful furniture.
This particular 18th Century chair (with an identical one on the other side of the fire place) caught our attention. The image and colours were just delightful to look at.
This was actually the cavalier ramp designed to allow horses and carriages to reach the towers from the town.
Nowadays, you can’t enter that way, it’s the way to exit the chateau – spiralling all the way from the top to the bottom and spitting us out on the street.
This wasn’t really a memorable chateau for us, it felt a little cold and impersonal. And we felt outside was more of the wow-factor than the inside.
Amboise is approximately 24 km east of Tours and about a 10 minute walk from Clos du Luce
Have you visited Amboise? What did you think of it?
We welcome your comments.
So what is so important about this chateau??
Chateau du Clos Luce
Leonardo da Vinci lived in this chateau for the last three years of his life, invited to live in France by King Francois I, in 1516.
The man was a genius – well beyond his time; painting, inventing, engineer and architect! And King Francois I thought so too.
We were a little in awe to think that we walked through the same hallways, up the same stairwells as Leonardo da Vinci…. THE Leonardo da Vinci. We even stood in the very room that he slept in.
His bedroom overlooked the garden, apparently he LOVED the view out of the castle.
The rest of the living quarters are much like the others we have shared in the series; kitchen, salon, bedrooms.
But this chateau was unique, in it’s own way!
The basement was the model room for all of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions. These 3D animations were created based on his designs and drawings in his notebooks.
We spent ages in this section completely enthralled by his talented mind and imagination.
Truly a man beyond his era!
(A) Military Armoured Tank
(B) Multiple Direction Machine Gun
(C) Printing Press
(D) The First Car
(E) The Paddle Boat
Then it was into the backyard, where there are life-sized models of his inventions, there are his works and his words – all on display for visitors to wonder around and discover for themselves. It’s a hands-on exhibit with 20 giant working models.
There are 40 translucent canvases that are 3-4 metres high.
His idea of a helicopter….
This place is fascinating in a completely different way to the other chateaux. Nothing quite like it…
Chateau du Clos Luce is approximately 26km east of Tours.
Do you have a favourite artist?
We don’t have one but we certainly found one that we admire immensely after this visit. Leave us a comment.
To any Tintin fans – this chateau may look a little familiar?? Think about Captain Haddock’s country home, Marlingspike Hall… It is said that Herge (author of Tintin) based the house on this chateau.
This estate has been in the same family for 6 centuries and to this day, is still lived in by the descendants of the Hurault family. They live in a sealed off wing of the chateau while the parts that we can visit are much like the others we have seen.
In this post, we share a little bit of what we found interesting.
The Dining Room is adorned with a silver-plated solid bronze chandelier weighing over 100 kg. It hangs above the table that can extend to seat 30 guests. Don’t want to be sitting under the light should it come down, right?
The arms room is the largest room in the chateau. There are plenty of pieces on display showcasing artwork, furniture, armour and weapons from as far back as the 15th Century. The travelling trunks, shown in these pictures, for example are from the 17th Century.
Let’s not forget the King’s Bedchamber which has an extravagantly decorated canopy and tapestries. These are there to keep the heat in.
The beds were unusually short as during this period, people slept sitting up. Lying down was for the dead.
The grand salon houses the 18th Century harp that is still in perfect working condition. Can you just imagine the sounds this instrument would’ve produced?
The gardens went virtually unexplored by us because we spent a lot of time visiting the kennels. Cheverny is an important hunting venue.
The kennels house approximately a hundred French Hounds which are fed every day around 3pm. This was rather entertaining to watch.
We stand outside high metal fences, peering in to watch the “event”. The keeper lay out the meat as the dogs clamber over one another and growl and bark in the overhead terrace.
Once the side gate is open, the dogs tear down the stairs (left of image) and wait for the keeper’s command to feast. Then it is just frantic.
Those dogs are fierce, we certainly wouldn’t want them chasing us through the estate.