We liked the medieval performance on Ascension day. I don't know whether it was only this once or whether it is every year, but a group of people were dressed like the Army and Nobles from the Middle Ages and danced on music from that period.
It took place in front of the castle, the right location :-)
This is a fine example of the Loire chateaux with multiple ornate rooms filled with wonderful decor, royal portraits, tapestries and furnishings. The gardens and grounds are wonderful and offer great views over the city and the Loire.
Clos Luce - Home of da Vinci
Clos Luce is in Amboise near Chateau d'Amboise and it is where da Vinci lived out the remaining three years of his life. His bed upon which he died is on display.
The 15th century manor was given to Leonardo da Vinci by François I. The painter, engineer and inventor moved there in 1516 to work on the reconstruction of the Château d'Amboise and perhaps at Chambord. His last project was the digging canals connecting the different chateaux in the Loire by placing dams and locks on the river. Not only was this man an artist and inventor, but a great engineer.
A Garden of Remembrance
“You cannot believe what lovely gardens I have seen in this town; for, on my word, it seems as though only Adam and Eve were wanting to make an Earthly Paradise, so full are they of rare and beautiful things.”
— Charles VIII, writing from Naples in a letter to Pierre, Duc de Bourbon
BEAUTIFUL THINGS In 1494, Charles took an army of 30,000 men to Italy with the idea of conquering the peninsula. The Italian Renaissance was in full flower. Charles’s natural taste for luxury was stoked by the art, architecture and decorative arts he found there. Charles brought back to Amboise a team of architects, sculptors, decorators, gardeners, tailors, as well as a chicken breeder, who introduced the incubator to France.
The château has held some well-known prisoners. Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV’s Superintendent of Finance and lord of the wonderful Château Vaux le Vicomte outside Paris, was one of them.
The Emir of Algers, Abd al-Qadir was another. Following the French invasion of Algeria in 1830, al-Qadir called for jihad against the invaders, who would colonize the country in 1843. In November 1848, Abd al-Qadir was placed under house arrest in the Château d’Amboise along with an entourage of 88. The Emir spent four years at the château until 1852 when he was released by Napoleon III after pledging never to disturb Algeria.
In 2002, a memorial to the members of the Emir’s household who died at Château d’Amboise was laid out within château’s garden (see photos #1 to #3).
Château du Clos-Lucé: The Interior
“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”
— Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
In 1660, the manor’s name changed from Manoir du Cloux to Le Clos-Lucé. The Amboise family acquired the property; they are credited with saving it from destruction during the Revolution. Since 1802, it has been owned by the Saint-Bris family.
Listed as un Monument historique, a major restoration was began at Clos-Lucé in the 1960s, with the aim to restore its architecture and its interior decoration. The restoration and refurnishing were completed with the restoration of the frescos in the chapel.
The work was entrusted to Bernard Vitry, Historic Monuments architect, and executed by craftsmen specializing in the art of wood carving, stone masonry and glass making, using the same techniques as did their ancestors in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Leonardo’s bedroom is one of the first rooms on the tour. There is a popular print in circulation that shows François I at da Vinci’s bedside, holding the dying genius in his arms. This is a 19th-century romanticized version of da Vinci’s death; the king was not in Amboise when da Vinci dyed on the 2nd of May 1519.