Fabulous castles, shit weather

Trip Start Feb 09, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of France  , Centre,
Thursday, April 11, 2013

Another breakfast and we are off again. This time we are headed for Chateau de Chenonceau, built on the Cher River, about 40K's away. The rain is still teeming down. The Chateau is packed with tourists and it is pretty hard to get a decent photo in and the rain and wind don’t help either with trying to keep the lens dry. The chateau was built in the 1430s on the piers of an old fortified mill. During its history several women had a strong role in the running of it. In 1547 King Henry II donated Chenonceau  to  his favourite lady Diane de Poitiers. She commissioned a bridge  built from the chateau to the other side of the river Cher which made the architecture of Chenonceau unique. She then created gardens which were among the most modern and spectacular of that time. Henri II wife Catherine de Medici removed Diana and made the gardens more beautiful. She also added  a  two-floored gallery on top  of the  bridge.  Other important tenants were Louise of Lorraine the wife of Henry III.  Louise Dupin apparently saved the chateau during the Revolution by storing wood in the chapel to hide its purpose.  Simone Menier looked after 2000 wounded when the gallery became a hospital during  WWI. She was also known for brave actions during WW2 for the resistance. During WW2 the Cher river corresponded to the line of demarcation. The entrance to the chateau was in the occupied zone (right bank).  The gallery where the south door gave access to the left bank made it possible for the Resistance to pass large numbers of people into the free zone. From here we drove on to the Chateau d’Amboise which has also an astounding history. The first port of call as you walk up to the castle is the Chapel of Saint Hubert .  It is built in flamboyant Gothic style. This chapel is famed as the resting place for Leonardo da Vinci. In this castle is where French King Charles the VIII and Ann,  Duchess de Bretagne got married. Not having an heir when Charles VIII died the marriage contract obliged Anne de Bretagne to marry the new King of France, Louis XII.
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Chris C on

Hi again. Nice to know you absorbing the history: very impressive recollection of dates etc.! Hate to tell you that the weather has been glorious in northern Spain, where I am, lately :) Keep up the good work there. See you before long :)

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