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Da Vinci's Last Home - Chateau du Clos Luce in France's Magnificent Loire Valley

Aug 17, 2007
Chateau du Clos Luce is where Leonard de Vinci spent the last three years of his life. King Francois I invited Leonardo da Vinci and he bestowed on him an annual pension of 700 golden crowns and gifted him Chateau du Clos Luce.

The King encouraged discussion, experimentation and much thought at Clos Luce. In this pretty chateau, he happily continued to paint, sketch, and work as an architect, engineer and festival organizer for the court. Francois I found great pleasure in listening to Leonardo.

Da Vinci arrived at Amboise over 60 years old with his disciple da Melzi and three paintings, Saint John the Baptist which he finished at Clos Luce, Saint Anne and the Mona Lisa.

In a corner of the basement is an entrance to the underground passage connecting Chateau Amboise with Clos Luce, giving Francois I a direct link to the Leonardo's home.

The chateau is open to tourists every day of the year except Christmas Day and New Years Day.

It is situated on a quiet back street of Amboise, a town south of the Loire River between Blois and Tours about 2 hours from Paris by train. The village street has troglodyte houses opposite built into the limestone cliff face.

Da Vinci's chateau is not large, but it is inviting, warm and personable. You get a sense of his life in the early 16th century as you wander unescorted throughout the sparsely decorated chateau.

The castle is surrounded by a magnificent treed park with a bubbling brook and peaceful pond with paddle boats available to hire. There is a tiny formal Renaissance garden in the courtyard behind the castle with perfumed roses and clipped box hedges. It is peaceful, ideal for bird watching, quiet contemplation and conversation.

You can visit his study, salons bedrooms and kitchen, the chapel and see frescoes painted by his pupils. Renaissance artifacts, paintings, tapestries, and furniture adorn the rooms which have high, timbered ceilings, huge fireplaces and well worn plank flooring.

There is a large four poster canopied bed in his bedroom swayed with gold and red fabric. Cherubs are carved into the dark wood on his bed.

He more than likely used the yellow salon bathed in light in the afternoons as a studio space. It is probably here that he finished his painting of John the Baptist.

The kitchen has a huge fire big enough to spit-roast a wild boar whole. In winter Leonardo would have warmed himself beside this fire.

His drawings and paintings are set out in the park of the chateau with giant models of the most spectacular machines he invented with voice-overs of Leonardo da Vinci and his disciple Melzi.

Downstairs in the basement, 40 models made by IBM from Leonardo's drawings are displayed. These military, naval, hydraulic, mechanical, and aeronautical inventions demonstrate his sheer genius. Many of these designs were envisioned centuries before they were first constructed. Devices such as swing bridges, a machine gun, a flying machine and an automobile all show sound principles of design.

"A well filled day gives a good sleep. A well filled life gives a peaceful death." After only three years in Amboise, he died on May 2, 1519 and is buried in the Chapelle St. Hubert on the Chateau Amboise grounds
About the Author
Corina Clemence operates a luxury french chateau in the Loire Valley near Blois, for up to fifteen people perfect for family holidays and for touring vineyards and chateaux and relaxing. It is ideal for a french wedding, party or event. Rent the whole castle or rent a suite. Rent a castle in France. Hire castle - hire chateau Rent chateau France http://www.loirechateau.com Rent castle
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