Saturday, May 29, 2010

France Day 5: Cheverny, Chombord, and Blois

On Day 5 we visited three palaces, Cheverney, Chombord, and Blois. We also got to taste wine and have lunch with the locals at their restaurant and wine tasting venue. The different styles of cheese and the green salad were purely refreshing. The accompanying bread was fantastic! The palaces burst with stories of love, deception, greed, political regality, ostentation, and above all with details of the everyday life of 14th-17th dwellers.

The young King Francis I was 25 yrs old in 1519 when he initiated the huge
enterprise of building the Chateau of Chambord. I think he is my favorite French King
and it probably has a lot to do with the fact that he was quite tall for a french man and did I
mention that he was a favorite of the ladies.

After he reconquered the Italian province of Milan, this keen young king
and huntsman built this castle originally intended as hunting lodge.
He reigned for 32 years and spent only 72 days at Chambord!

View from the hollow central column created by double spiral staircase that wind independently
around linking all of the three chateau's floors. This kind of innovative layout and ingeniousness of
the central staircase suggests that Leonardo da Vinci may have helped Francis I inspire this project.

Wood Engraved 'F' for Francis I

Beautiful antique door knob

Stone Stove

The king used to come through these doors on his horse and directly
go up the center spiraling staircase to his room riding his horse sometimes

View of the garden

One of the royal wings

Horse-drawn carriages built for the Comte de Chombord in 1871

And now to the wine-tasting and lunch. The tour we took allowed us to lunch
in a family domain with organic wines.

This was beautiful - a man pressing grapes in a wine glass

The electronic pipes spouted the wine of your choice. We had to taste it and
then note down it's intensity in aroma, flavor, where we thought it could be from, what kind of grape,
how long it's been aged - needless to say I miserably failed.

Akhil the wine connoisseur he is, ehem ehem, royally takes a sip
and diligently scribbles notes that he refuses to share with me!

The best salad I have had to this day at La grande Chancelier owned by small towners

Yep he is ready!

Flowers flowers flowers everywhere!

Chateau Cheverny
This Chateau originally was lost to the crown due to state fraud and was handed from King Henry II to his mistress Diane de Politiers who rather preferred the Chateau de Chenonceau. Hence the Chateau saw many ownerships ever since. After being passed down, sold, bought again, now the rightful owners are descendants of the aristocrats and they have liberally opened it up for the public's view.

Wall panels

Marlinspike in The Adventures of Tintin was based on Cheverny.

The luxury oozes out of these rooms

Akhil and I love clocks and have never seen anything like this

This is a over 400 year old tree in the gardens of Cheverny

You are thinking 'What on earth?!'
Well the family owns 70 hunting dogs who are taken out for hunts biweekly. They are half English foxhound and half French Poitou — are bred to have big feet and bigger stamina.Their feeding time is a major tourist attraction and while we didn't get to view the feeding directly, I did find a cool video from Derek on Motionbox that you can view below. This is a really cool video! I wish I had caught this moment myself. And I couldn't help but marvel at the clean spotless floor left behind. You'll see what I am talking about once you view the video.

Aww - just don't get near him during his feeding time.

The last of chateaus for today - Blois! Prounounced 'blwa'
Can you believe that these decorative gargoyles were actually water drainage spouts.

Another gargoyle drainage spout.

Blois has an ancient fortress that slowly transformed into a royal castle after being acquired by different kings. There are three wings to this castle, one by Louix XII, another by Francis I and another by Gaston d'Orleans.

Inscriptions of Queen Catherine de Medici and King Henry II as gold wall paper

King Henry II was known to have mistresses and his favorite 'love' was Diane de Poitiers. Isn't it interesting how when the King Henry II's 'H' combines with Queen Catherine de Medici's 'C' it forms into a a double 'D' representing Diane de Poitiers whom the King adored for the rest of his life.

Royal trays

A video from the Wine Cave

1 comment:

  1. just wonderful! i love those bubbies and their feast.