Friday, July 21, 2017

Château du Clos Lucé

Four hundred metres down the main street from Château d'Amboise is the Château du Clos Lucé. When it was said that Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life (1516-1519) there, I was sold.

King Francis I of France held Leonardo da Vinci in high regard. Leonardo was invited as a guest of the king and bestowed the title - "First painter, architect and engineer". The king offered Château du Clos Lucé to Leonardo as his residence and paid him a princely annual allowance asking only in return for the pleasure of hearing him talk.

It was said that Leonardo lived happily in this residence. Shielded by the affection of the king, Leonardo was free to dream and work, pursuing his various passions like painting, and producing engineering and architecture drawings. He even organized celebratory events.

In the autumn of 1516, after Leonardo accepted the royal invitation at the age of 64, he crossed the Alps with his disciples and brought from Rome, three of his favorite paintings - Mona Lisa, the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist. Today, these three paintings can be viewed at the Louvre Museum.

Château du Clos Lucé - the place where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life

The building facade of red brick and limestone was built in the 15th century

The meeting between Leonardo da Vinci and the Cardinal of Aragon in 1517 was re-created with virtual reality technology

The Renaissance Great Hall was Leonardo da Vinci's reception room. All the furnishings date from the Renaissance period.

The Renaissance Terrace has a cafeteria, souvenir shop and a rose garden

Walking through the rose garden

Mallard ducks make Leonardo's garden their home.

Leonardo's engineering drawings were given life around the garden

Getting ready to ride my bike back. One advice: Don't cycle from Tours to Amboise, take the train instead.

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