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Leonardo da Vinci’s Connection to France

This past week Mr. Misadventures and I were watching an episode of Des racines et des ailes (roots and wings) which we recorded from TV5, our only source of French TV. It is our favorite show because we love discovering interesting and unique history about France.

This particular episode called “Le génie des bâtisseurs” (the genius of the builders) covered various kings and royalty who built some of the most magnificent châteaus that are still some of France's most prized treasures.

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The main focus of this show was around the Château de Blois, a chateau that I have yet to visit, although it is definitely on the list to see. I have been to several other châteaus in that region that were built by many of the same people. One of those was King François I (or François Premier) who was greatly influenced by Leonardo da Vinci.

Unless you were asleep at the wheel in the early 2000s, it is likely you read The Da Vinci Code or at least saw the movie which came out in 2006. So you are probably aware of some of the history surrounding Da Vinci and France, but there is a lot more and it is fascinating.

During the summer of 2004, I visited the château at Chambord where there is a second copy of The Last Supper (fun to study if you are a Da Vinci Code fan!). There is a beautiful helix staircase that is similarly present at the Château de Blois. Another château and residence of François I is the Château in d'Amboise which I have visited a couple of times.

But more interesting than the chateau is the last home of da Vinci located in Amboise as well. I had no idea of its existence, Mr. Misadventures and I sort of stumbled onto it while walking around the town.

Known as the Clos Luce, this home, museum, and park are fascinating to explore. While looking for the exact name of the location, I found this great post by Tara Bradford of Paris Parfait. As she is a really good photographer the photos in the post are worth checking out. I spent several hours wandering around, checking out some of the many, many inventions that this brilliant man created. This is just one example:

Clos Luce Leonardo da Vinci Park in Blois France

Da Vinci came to France in 1516 at the invitation of François I and the king lent da Vinci his Clos Luce residence. He also gave him a pension on which to live so that he could continue to paint and illustrate and invent as well as work on architectural projects for the king as well as on irrigation systems for several local rivers. Leonardo died in May of 1519 and is buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in the castle of Amboise.

In France and not Italy.

I never tire of learning new things about this country that I am so intrigued by.

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