duminică, 19 august 2012

Château du Clos de Luce, Amboise, France, Day #2

Is the last place where Leonardo da Vinci lived, in Amboise, in a beautiful mansion with a huge and gorgeous garden. A place to create and to think, as well as relax in seclusion, despite the noise beyond the walls. We had to walk some roads to reach the place, is situated little bit far and high from the lower parking, and we needed about 3 hours to visit it all. I felt happy we found out about it, because it was very interesting to see what and where Leonardo da Vinci created in his last years of life.

He was invited to live here by Francis I, in 1516, and he crossed the Alpes on a mule, bringing with him The Mona Lisa itself (as well as some other two famous paintings), that he finished there.

The King of France welcomed Leonardo with the following words: 
"Here you will be free to dream, to think and to work."

The Château du Clos Lucé brings to life the botanical drawings, geological studies and the landscapes of the Master.

Spread out over a hectare, "Leonardo’s Garden" is an open-air museum, and it has been laid out and planted in the spirit of the paintings and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. We crossed the two-level bridge, created and designed by Leonardo, and we followed the botanical walk in his footsteps.

The lake is surrounded by a mysterious fog, coming out from the surface of the water. It was not such a big mystery, we saw the engineering but we still enjoyed it very much.

I truly loved this intimate corner in the garden, embellished with Piere de Ronsard roses.

On the walk you can try Leonardo’s inventions full-size. After seeing them at a smaller scale in the château, it was a big surprise to try them with our hands in the garden!

The helicopter, the tank, the fan-type machine gun, the paddle boat, the swing bridge – there are so many.  

Francis I appreciated this genius so much that he is said to have visited Leonardo often, using the underground passage linking the Château du Clos Lucé to the Royal Château d’Amboise.  

On our way back, we noticed this interesting house carved in stone, and after that we saw so may in that area! 
Well, it seems that we saw what we wanted to see, then we started to see what we needed to see...

joi, 16 august 2012

I Just Dropped By...

To say that when I came back from France I couldn't just pick up where I've left off. 

Pagode de Chanteloupe

miercuri, 15 august 2012

Tours, France, Day #2

It was dark and it was raining cats and dogs, so we couldn't see much of Tours, sorry for the dark pictures. 
Best thing in Tours was meeting our internet friends who became friends in the real life in a blink of an eye.

We tried to visit the city center, but because of the rain we entered the cathedral (which is a classified monument since 1862!), took some pictures, read some notes on the walls and left for better (and sunny) places...

Somehow, the central square reminded us of old British buildings...

Tours was the capital of France at the time of Louis XI, who had settled in the castle of Montils (now is in La Riche, a suburb of Tours, near Ronsard's priory we visited earlier in the day).

The Saint-Gatien cathedral was built between 1170 and 1547. The organ, donated by Archbishop Martin de Beaune, was built by Barnabé Delanoue in the 16th century.

This tomb, in Carrara marble, is the tomb of the children of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany, who died as infants. It was made by Girolamo da Fiesole, in the Italian style. Is a fine piece of art, moved from another Tour's cathedral here, in 1834.

And those being told, Elvis left the building.

marți, 14 august 2012

Priory of Saint-Cosme, France, Day #2

It was a dark and rainy day in Touraine in that Sunday, and it took us forever to find the last place where Pierre de Ronsard, the poet, lived. We had only a leaflet with wrong coordinates, so we kept running in circles by the gps indications. When Bogdan started to trust his instincts again, he found it in no time. And well he did, because the place was oh so beautiful...

The skies were gray, but the lavender flowers were blue and the poet's roses in full bloom...


RONSARD, 1550.

I send you here a wreath of blossoms blown,
And woven flowers at sunset gathered,
Another dawn had seen them ruined, and shed
Loose leaves upon the grass at random strown.
By this, their sure example, be it known,
That all your beauties, now in perfect flower,
Shall fade as these, and wither in an hour,
Flowerlike, and brief of days, as the flower sown.

Ah, time is flying, lady - time is flying;
Nay, 'tis not time that flies but we that go,
Who in short space shall be in churchyard lying,
And of our loving parley none shall know,
Nor any man consider what we were;
Be therefore kind, my love, whiles thou art fair. 

luni, 13 august 2012

Montlouis, France, Day #2 and Day #7

When in France, what you should do in the first morning you're waking up? Go and buy some wine, of course!

Our lovely hosts sent us to Montlouis, a village across the river Cher, to buy wine directly from the producers
We visited the caves and chose some great bottles: a Cuvée Reservée de Montlouis (a sparkling wine, similar with Champagne, but much cheaper) and some red Saumur (soft and fruity). Next door to the producer's cave it was The Cave Restaurant, we noticed it, but it was in a real cave, so at the time we didn't even consider eating in it. 
We wanted to breath fresh air, and on the Loire Valley, the air is really fresh!

But, in the last evening, we couldn't find any seat in our favorite restaurant in Cormery (see? we sat only 7 days and we already have a favorite restaurant!), so we tried our luck in Montlouis. And we were lucky indeed!

The menu was amazing, we took the Clos de Cray menu, with food and also wine, a combination between nouvelle cuisine and fusion, but with four courses, it was more than enough.

I loved the decoration in the cave, low lighting for intimate dinners, candles and roses.

In the middle of the piece was a huge cheminée (fire place) in brick and stone.

The cheese table was fully assorted, with cow, sheep and goat mix of cheese.

In the back of the room was the four, exposed.

The aperitif was not in the menu, it was some nut mousse with warm and salted biscuits.

The simplest dish had the name formed from at least fifteen words, above was some pasta for Bogdan.

Here is my salmon with crust, wasabi and beetroot mousse (it was something with this mousse, every dish had some mousse around).

For the main courses Bogdan had chicken and I had fish, both with mousse (vegetables - carrots), of course.

The cheese at dessert, with rosé wine. 

Raspberry mousse...

Boule-de-neige for me, no mousse. Finally. 

In France, is mandatory to have in the car the alcohol test. 
In France, is also mandatory to have wine at lunch. At dinner, too.
Sometimes, champagne for breakfast.
Uhm, I love France.