Tuesday, February 28, 2017

MySpot: Spring Is Advancing

"The naked earth is warm with Spring,
And with green grass and bursting trees
Leans to the sun's kiss glorying,
And quivers in the sunny breeze."

Julian Grenfell

Sunday, February 26, 2017

France, Loire Valley - Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire III (The Tropical Greenhouse)

 A must see while visiting the Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire Domain is the tropical-plant-filled greenhouse.

France, Loire Valley - Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire II (The Interior Courtyard)

The Age of Enlightenment and Romantic Era at Chaumont were marked by Jacques Donatien Le Ray (1726-1803), 
Intendant of the Invalides of Louis XVI.
He made his fortune in trade and bought Château de Chaumont in 1750.

Today, the château has three sides built around a central courtyard. 
However, the original construction had four sides. 
Jacques Donatien Le Ray demolished the north wing and opened the courtyard in the U shape 
in order to enjoy the splendid view over the Loire and to overlook the village.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

France, Loire Valley - Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire I

The Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire is a castle in Loir-et-Cher, France. 

Chaumont was constructed from 1468 to 1510 on the site of a much older 10th century fortress, 
that had been burned down in 1465 by Louis XI in a reprisal for the actions of its owner Pierre d'Amboise, 
who had been involved in the anti-Royal revolt known as the 'Ligue du bien public'. 
After Pierre had his properties reinstated, he started (and his son Charles I completed) the construction of the current chateau.

The design is interesting in that, when work started, it had many elements of a defensive castle, 
but as time progressed, the parts added are much more in the style of a Renaissance chateau, 
with a decorative Renaissance design, much more typical of the castles of the Loire Valley, rather than protective.

A century later, in 1550, the castle was bought by the notorious Catherine de Medici, 
although she soon exchanged it for the grander Chateau Chenonceau by applying pressure on its owner, Diane de Poitiers, 
who had previously been the mistress of Henry II, Catherine de Medicis late husband.

The castle has three sides around a central courtyard, which has fine views out across the river and countryside - 
originally there were four sides, but one was destroyed in 1739 to make good use of the views
At the same time the castle was altered to become less fortified.

Unusually for a castle in France, Chaumont escaped significant damage during the revolution, 
due to its technically American ownership at that point. 
Chaumont remained occupied and cared for until 1938, by a succession of rich industrialists and gentry. 
The interior decoration especially reflects that of the Broglie family who owned the castle from 1875 to 1938, 
although there are earlier period recreations in several of the rooms.

Since 1938, when the Broglies fell on hard times, the castle has been owned by the French state.
It's protected as a monument historique since 1840, and it is now open to the public.