Beautiful France since ancient times has never lacked romance. A light spring breeze soothes fresh greenery of this romantic land. Year after year, romance is never missing. 2019 is an important year for 500th anniversary of French Renaissance and 55th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. In castles of Loire Valley, romantic history of French royal family and legendary stories of François I and Da Vinci are prepared. Tourists from all over world are starting with a season of brilliant spring flowers to find out.
Land of Kings of Loire Valley
In central Loire Valley, which is an hour's train ride from Paris, there is a beautiful river that flows directly into Atlantic Ocean - Loire River. It is longest river in France, with a total length of 1020 kilometers, of which 280 kilometers are tourist routes, including 350 historical relics listed as world cultural heritage. The landscape of Loire Valley and especially its numerous cultural monuments express ideals of Western European thought and creativity of Renaissance and Enlightenment. This is back garden of French royal family in past, known as "Valley of Kings", as well as perfect combination of history, humanities and beautiful nature.
Medieval fortresses, royal castles and renaissance mansions, idyllic mansions, impressive cathedrals... These artistic marvels continued to evolve over three centuries and created what historians call tradition of "French art of living". Francis I, Charles VII, Leonardo da Vinci and others decided to live here with great insight.
And this land of outstanding people gave birth to Jeanne d'Arc, Balzac, George Sand, Descartes and other outstanding people who became famous in history in various fields. Today we can still see this majestic cultural impulse from caves, Renaissance castles, medieval fortresses, old towns, gardens, monasteries and other architectural landscapes...
If you want to appreciate all French style, apart from Paris, you must come to Loire Valley. The palaces and castles on both sides of Loire River not only witnessed romance of French royal family, but also left behind a Renaissance legend that is crucial to French culture and art. In 2019, in commemoration of 500th anniversary of death of Leonardo da Vinci at Château Clos Luce and 500th anniversary of construction of Château de Chambord, "Da Vinci's name lives on - 500 years of Renaissance in Central Loire Valley region of France", in The Loire Valley will host more than 700 specially planned Renaissance events, as well as a range of exclusive Renaissance themed itineraries, whether it be a romantic getaway for two or for young people. literature and art. The elegant Loire Valley will blossom this year with a different passion and romance.
Francis I and da Vinci
Among castles in Loire Valley, in addition to sensational history of royal love and harem affairs, focus is on two influential figures who have not ceased for 500 years. These are Francis I (François I) and Leonardo da Vinci (Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci).
There are many legends about Francis I. He is known as father of French Renaissance. His iconic profile and beard not only made him very recognizable, but also inspired French men to beard fashion. He loves literature and art, during his reign he built a large number of museums and art galleries, expanded Louvre, built Fontainebleau, made French official language of France, acquired a large number of Michelangelo, Titian and Raphael in Italy. You are waiting for masterpiece to return to France. Even Da Vinci was invited to live in France.
Da Vinci had many personalities in his life, and people prefer to call him a "lifetime traveler". It seems that only such a title is worthy of his talent. In 1516, at invitation of Francis I, Leonardo da Vinci left Italy at age of 64. He rode a mule through Alps and arrived in France accompanied by three of his very important works, namely Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Mona Lisa, Saint Madonna and Child.
François I treated Da Vinci well, and he gave Da Vinci Clos Luce castle, where he lived as a child. And he entrusted him with many projects, for example, design of Chambord spiral staircase. After moving to France, Leonardo da Vinci devoted last three years of his life to completing his inventions. The Clos Luce castle even has a tunnel connected to Royal Castle of Amboise (château d'Amboise), where Francis I lived. The distance is only 500 meters, which is convenient for two people to meet at any time.
Even in two castles, there are portraits of Da Vinci's Death by masters such as Ingres, who were also court painters of French royal family at time. The content depicted in portrait is François I, surrounded by bed of a dying da Vinci, sending da Vinci on his last journey.
Despite fact that two people in photo are about to part, farewell in front of each other is considered complete. But fact is that François I did not have a chance to send Leonardo da Vinci for last time. According to administrator of Royal Castle of Amboise, king was away at time, and later generations created this series of paintings to help king fill regrets in his heart.
Such a close relationship between two will inevitably lead to unwarranted speculation by future generations. In fact, da Vinci, who moved to France, was already over 60, and King Francis I was only 20 at time. Francis I had lost his father since childhood, grew up with his mother and aunt, and longed for his father's love. And his attachment to Da Vinci is more like a filial respect for his father. So at that time François I called Da Vinci "my father". This name sublimated relationship between them.
Pilgrimage to Tomb of Da Vinci
Although Francis I was not with da Vinci when he died, this loving king arranged for da Vinci's tomb in Ambois, where he lived in royal castle. Even as soon as you enter this royal castle, first thing you see is chapel of St. Hubert, where da Vinci is buried. It also fully demonstrates king's deep friendship with Daphne.
The chapel of St. Hubert is located in corner of castle, and behind wall is a beautiful landscape of Loire Valley, which flows endlessly in all seasons. The small chapel is always crowded, many art lovers come to Loire Valley, first thing they do is come here to make a pilgrimage to Da Vinci. Since church is small, it cannot accommodate too many people, but it witnessed fate of da Vinci in France and his deep relationship with King Francis I.
The Chapel of Saint Hubert at Royal Château de Amboise is famous for being burial place of Da Vinci. This beautiful and quiet gothic chapel can be called last work of da Vinci left in world. The small church, which does not look very attractive from outside, contains a lot of da Vinci's legacy. Light entering through a stained glass window falls on a chair on opposite side of tomb. Supposedly, in years when Da Vinci had just passed away, François I could often sit on this bench, chat with Da Vinci across from him, and send him his memoirs.
Due to its small size, Saint-Hubert is quieter and its functions are relatively concentrated. Sitting on a bench in front of tomb, a strong scent of lilies fills room, while reflections of flowery windows dotted walls and tombstones make atmosphere here both solemn and warm.
Over years, castle replaced chapel day by day with fresh white lilies. Both beautiful reflection in flowery window and strong sweet fragrance also reflect magnificent colors that Da Vinci's life showered world with. If you happen to visit Loire Valley, it is recommended to go here on a pilgrimage to master and visit magnificent royal castle of Amboise along way.
Poetic and picturesque royal castle of Amboise
Leave chapel where da Vinci is buried and visit poetic and picturesque Château Royale Amboise, former home of Francis I. The architectural style of this castle testifies to pomp and vitality of cultural brilliance of Valois court, where Francis I spent his youth. Over centuries, many influential figures appeared in this castle: Charles V, Louis XIV, future king of Spain, Philip V, Napoleon III, and others, they all lived in this castle.
In decoration of castle, you can see lilies everywhere, representing French royal family. Because of their characteristics, lilies have always had a graceful and pure humanistic meaning. The Catholic Church considers lily a symbol of Virgin Mary, Vatican considers lily national flower, and Chinese tradition personifies lily as Fairy in Clouds. The French royal family even used lilies as a symbol, appearing on all decorations associated with French royal family.
The lily pattern of French royal family is uniform or mostly uniform in design. This type of decoration is not only directly associated with French royal family, but is also often associated with important European royal families and nobles such as Spain, Britain, Italy and Luxembourg. Fleur-de-lis decoration in France began before Middle Ages before the French Revolution of 1789.
In addition to da Vinci chapel, many rooms of castle are also lined with lilies, white and red, each with its own beauty, but scent is same. always around you. The luxurious mansion of royal family and Renaissance furniture, quintessence of French national culture, are exhibited here one after other.
Leave castle and enjoy another castle service, sip some sparkling wine and sample some local snacks on terrace opposite castle. The castle officials even kindly brought a large basket of lilies. Wherever you are, you will be surrounded by scent of lilies.
Drink local sparkling wine on terrace, looking at castle opposite, sun is just right. The green lawns and bushes are neatly laid out, although it is no longer home of king, it still maintains royal pride.
There are many empty picture frames in courtyard of royal castle of Amboise. People can find their own satisfying angle through picture frames and appreciate castle again in your eyes through aesthetics and artistic perspective. This design also conveys Francis I's love of art, making castle poetic and picturesque.
Another highest point - terrace at top of castle, from where view of small town of Amboise at foot, is no longer ordinary.
Unlike other castles, by making an appointment, you can climb castle tower under guidance of an exclusive castle guide, which is also a very private and very VIP experience. The Sonne Tower was built by Louis XI in 15th century, on untouched tower you can fully enjoy private atmosphere, as if you have feeling that you are under city.
Bypassing whole city from tower, beautiful landscapes open before your eyes, and most beautiful river in France blows your face with a spring breeze. This is best season, wherever you are...
The legend of King Francis I and Leonardo da Vinci has been passed down from generation to generation. In small town of Amboise, pilgrimage to da Vinci never stopped.
There are many celebrations here in this important 500th anniversary of Renaissance. The weather is getting warmer, which means it's time to plan to visit Da Vinci again...
Original / Coco Hu Bo Please Don't Allow
Japanese Tourism Ambassador to Okinawa, Huayi Brothers Contract Traveler, Producer of "Wine and Sex Journey" Travel Video Series, Ruizu Magazine Lifestyle Director, Senior Travel Media Representative, Travel Agency Contract Teacher, Gold Medal Author Sohu, Sina Weibo has signed contracts with independent media outlets, famous travel bloggers, renowned journalists, writers and photographers. His work can often be seen in travel and lifestyle magazines such as HNA, Fashion & Health, Tidal Star and etc.