Saturday, June 22, 2002

Chenonceau / Amboise, France

Chenonceau
This chateau has been nicknamed the "Chateau of Six Women" and is home to the most legendary cat-fight every fought (explanation to follow in other pictures...). Building on the rubble of a fortified mill from 1515-1522, Thomas and Katherine Bohier's motto was "S'il vient a ooint, me sowiendra" meaning "If I manage to build it, I will be remembered."



In 1526, just two years after her husband, Katherine died, leaving the chateau in the hands of Antoine, the eldest of their nine children. He immediately found himself involved in an investigation by the King which resulted in his having to return 90,000 livres to the treasury (apparently there was some skimming going on by the King's financiers, some of whom Antoine was linked to). His property was also seized -- thus becoming the property of Charles V.



Diane de Poitiers Garden at Chenonceau: Upon his accession as the king, Henry II presented Chenonceau to his mistress Diane de Poitiers. Diane had a lavish garden built on the site, and lived here (and in the other properties that Henry II gave her!) until the death of the king in 1559. She also designed the arches that held up the bridge across the Cher.



Catharine de Medici’s garden: Upon her husband's death, Catherine de Medici promptly tossed her rival out of the chateau, built her own lavish gardens, and ordered the giant hall to be built upon the bridge Diane had designed. Four other famous French women:Louise de Lorraine (wife of Henry III) confined herself to her apartments here which were decorated with funeral symbols and only wore white (the color of mourning) until her death in 1601; Queen Margot (wife of Henry IV), Elisabeth of France (wife of Phillip II of Spain), Mary Stuart (wife of Francois II), and Elisabeth of Austria (wife of Charles IX) also made this their home.



View from Catharine de Medici’s garden: Four other famous French women made this their home: Louise de Lorraine (wife of Henry III) confined herself to her apartments here which were decorated with funeral symbols and only wore white (the color of mourning) until her death in 1601; Queen Margot (wife of Henry IV), Elisabeth of France (wife of Phillip II of Spain), Mary Stuart (wife of Francois II), and Elisabeth of Austria (wife of Charles IX) also made this their home.



Another view of le Chateau des Dames from Catherine's garden. 

Ch√Ęteau at Amboise 
Construction of this chateau was started by Charles VIII and Louis XII and completed by Francois I. Legend has it that there are tunnels that connect this castle to Clos-Luce, the manor given by Francios I to Leonardo da Vinci during the final years of da Vinci's life. The tunnels are believed to have been created to allow Francios to visit da Vinci and the many inventions that he was working on for the king.



Another view of the chateau at Amboise.



The state room at Amboise. There is a twin to the fireplace seen here on the opposite end of the hall... the architecture is stunning!



A view from the top of the chateau looking across the Loire river.

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