France: Loire Castles, Part One

Vintage castles are among the most famous sights of France. There are no, perhaps, not a single person who would not hear about the Louvre — Royal Castle in Paris, rebuilt into the palace and subsequently the museum, or about the castle of IF — Former military fort and imprisonment of the legendary Count Monte Cristo.

However, there are dozens of other similar structures in France, each of which has an amazing story and bright architecture. The castles located in the valley of the Loire River are especially interesting: there are so many of them here and they are so great that the entire 300-kilometer plot of valley stretching from Sully-sur-Louar to Chalon-sur-Loir was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Most of the Loire castles were erected in the Middle Ages, but rebuilt later, in the Renaissance, the French kings were chosen for his stay for his stay. During the First World War, some castles were used as military field hospitals. And during World War II, despite the fact that a demarcation line was held through the locks, they were not destroyed — and now we can fully appreciate their greatness.

Let’s start our virtual tour with castles, whose destiny is tied up with female names. This, for example, Chenonceau, located near the village of the same name in the department of Indre-et-Loire. In people it is called «ladies’ castle» not by chance.

Since the XIII century on the site was a military fortress, but after two centuries, the land was bought by the royal court, Thomas Boyer, who decided to destroy old buildings to build new facility. Construction at the same time engaged in his wife: Thomas himself, included in the retinue of the king permanently absent.

In the middle of the XVI century the castle was expropriated in favor of Francis I, who liked to go and see there with his entourage. Among them was his young son, the future king of France, Henry II, and a prominent court lady Diane de Poitiers.

History of Henry and Diana is one of the most famous love stories in the world (she, in particular, is devoted to the novel by Alexandre Dumas «Two Diana»). Their first meeting took place when the future king was 6 years old: 25-year-old beauty kissed the boy, and he decided to become a forever knight. Even married to Catherine de Medici, Henry II did not forget about his passion and in spite of the 19-year age difference, Diana continued to heap attention signs. Among the many gifts she got and the Castle of Chenonceau, moreover, in spite of all the existing property law.

Diana was a worthy mistress: in 1551 she began work on the improvement of ownership that included redevelopment of the park and the orchard. She also made to fathom the depth of the river Cher with the aim of building a stone bridge, which was later carried out by the project F. Delorme.

After the death of Henry II Diana had to return the castle to his wife, and the next owner after Catherine de Medici was the wife of Henry III, Louise de Vaudemont. This Queen made history as the White Lady: early widowed, she was 12 years mourned white (existing since antiquity tradition). After her death the castle passed to Françoise de Merker — Caesar’s wife of the Vandomsky, extramarital royal son. Since that time, the kings of France left Shenonso.

In 1733, the castle was sold to the rich landowner-banker Claude Dupan, and his wife, fan of the arts, opened a fashion salon in Shenonso. Shenzo’s century, Schunson acquired a certain Madame Peluz, who conducted large restoration work in order to return his original appearance to the estate. At present, Schunsono is the property of a family of less who bought it at the end of the XIX century. The lock is fully restored and open to excursions.

Sheverni’s castle, located in the Sonon commune of the same name, was also presented by Heinrich II Diana de Poitiers, however, unlike Shenonso, not preserved in its original form. That castle that we see now is re-built in the first half of the XVII century in the style of the late Renaissance. Externally, he resembles the Luxembourg Palace in Paris, because his project was engaged in Jacques — Pupil Salomon De Absor, who led the construction of the Paris Residence.

At the beginning of the XVII century, a drama was launched in the castle, worthy of Shakespeare. His then owner, Lieutenant-General Henri Yuro, found his wife in the arms of the young group. Rival bits sword, deceived spouse suggested a gradentity choice between poison and blade, and young countess chose poison. The Rule then King Heinrich IV did not approve the reprisal and banned Henri to appear at the court, actually sharpening him in the estate. There, the widower married again, and the new mistress of Margarita all his energy sent to care about the castle. She began large-scale work on its expansion and restoration, and by 1650 the interior arrangement was completed by Marquis de la Maeriner — daughter Margarita and Henri.

France Loire Castles, Part One

In 1802, the descendants of Yuro were forced to sell the estate, but at the end of the Napoleonic wars were able to return her to their hands. In 1914, the Yuro family among the first in France decided to discover their estate for free visits to tourists.

The history of the castle of Villalandry, lying 15 km west from the city of Tura, does not remember such turbulent passions, but this monument will configure the romantic fluent.

In the XII century, at this place was the fortress of the Colombier, but four centuries later her new owner, Secretary of State Francis I Jean Le Breton, decided to build a beautiful castle for myself, different from other medieval fortresses. The most ancient buildings of Colombier, with the exception of the main tower (DONZHON), were demolished, and in 1536 the construction of a new Renaissance building began here.

Thanks to one of its subsequent owners — Brother Napoleon Bonazu Prince Zhero — Castle enriched, as it was supposed to correspond to the imperial style. But the greatest contribution made a married couple Carvalo, who acquired the castle at the beginning of the 20th century. Having decided to return Villalandry his original appearance, they rebuilt arcades and recreated gardens.

The garden-park complex is located on three levels rising one over the other. The lower terrace is occupied by a stylized garden, the upper level is planted with fruit trees, and the middle terrace is the Gardens of Love, visually continuing the halls of the first floor. Lying at the base of the castle «Squares» Essociated from shrub in the form of figures — Allegory Love. Passion symbols are ball masks and hearts in flame languages; Veser and the predominance of the yellow color of the shrub symbolize infidelity; Pierced heart arrows remind of tenderness and feelings, and tragic love is illustrated by the sword blades. In summer, red flowers are blooming here as a symbol of blood shedding on blood duel.

Multicolored flower beds, fountains, reservoirs, labyrinth paths and much more — Villalandry Castle Gardens are a bright example of French park art. It is possible to fully appreciate the idea of ​​their creator only from the height, and the AIRPANO panorama in this case — How can not be in the way.

But our virtual walk through the castles of the Loire Valley does not end — Next time you learn how the Great Leonardo da Vinci is connected with them.

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