Da Vinci Codex. Amboise throws the book at me.
|Parc Leonardo Da Vinci|
Today, in the lovely Loire town of Amboise, they threw the Leonardo Da Vinci book at me. Learned a lot but probably have forgotten much of it already.
Not many people know that the famous Italian lived the last three years of his life here in Chateau du Clos Lucé and indeed died here in 1519. He came as a guest of his ardent admirer Francois 1, the king of France, who had his own Royal Chateau just a few hundred yards away. There was even a connecting passageway between the two buildings to enable fan Francois talk to his artist.
|Here's looking at you kid!|
On an arduous journey from Italy Leonardo brought a familiar face, Mona Lisa, with him, though the painting that now hangs here is a copy by someone else painted soon after the original. Da Vinci happily lived here for three years, painting and working on other passions such as engineering, building design, and even producing entertainments for the court.
It cost eighteen euro to do the full visit here and that included the chateau, gardens, a 3D representation of his machines, a special and interesting Da Vinci expo (this accounts for five euro of the fee and you can omit it if you wish) and the enormous park with some 35 individual exhibits illustrating various aspects of the artist’s enormous range of works.
|This armour is killing me. Francois I, King of France|
The 1471 chateau is modest compared to some we’ve been at but it is attractive. We saw rooms where Da Vinci slept and worked and also the kitchen where the meals were prepared by Mathurine for the vegetarian Italian.
Some mist and sound effects have been added to the waters of the old garden where he walked, a pleasant place where we walked today, but the park is the big deal here, at least for me. Canvasses hang from the trees to illustrate different themes. Those that caught my eye and imagination were the Light on Faces area and the Mechanics of Life section.
|Out in the Parc|
But lots more to grab the attention, including getting your hands on the works of the Propeller (precursor of the helicopter), the Paddle Boat, the Tank and more. Basically, it is the kind of place that you walk around with your mouth open and admiration pouring out through every pore in your body.
This man was a genius of his time and would no doubt have been a genius in these times.
|The Propellor (precursor of the helicopter)|
It was a tremendous visit in the heat of the second day of September. Temperatures were around the mid 20s as we drove home on the A85 and we were keen to get to the swimming pool. When we reached Chinon, we found our traiteur closed and the only restaurants open were ones that we had already visited.
So, with the pool beckoning, we went a little downmarket and called to the little Carrefour (Carrefour City) in the town. I suppose downmarket might be the wrong term as the prepared meal we choose was by Chef of the Century Joel Robuchon, of Paris, London and Las Vegas. The meal, titled Le fameux Parmentier de Canard, cost under a fiver each, and was excellent. The little bowls that it came in, suitable for oven or microwave, were cleaned out, not a smidgeon left.
|Chateau du Clos Lucé|