Who doesn’t love a bit of ‘oooh la la’??
I certainly made the most of my basic French when I visited the beautiful Loire Valley for Flush magazine.
See the full feature here
Heading to The Loire Valley with my history head on, I wasn’t quite sure what delights I was letting myself in for. At a hop skip and short (90 mins) train ride from Paris, the pretty village of Amboise was worth the trek. Winding country roads, and chateaux a plenty, the village is probably best known for its Chateaux du Clos Luce, where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years, but there are lots of other things to explore for a long weekend too, particularly if you are an outdoorsy sort, or like wine! Both of which appeal to me.
Everyone has heard of the Mona Lisa, but how much do you really know about the man behind her? With A-level art to back me up, I thought I might be teacher’s pet on the art- history part of the tour, but as Leonardo would say, there is always more to learn. In addition to his painting skills, Leonardo was a restless genius in many fields, excelling in whatever he set his mind to.
He was invited to move in to the King’s estate in Amboise by King Francis I, as he was a great believer in Leonardo da Vinci’s talent. Giving him the title of “Premier Painter, Engineer and Architect of the King” he had a special, if ambiguous friendship with the Italian; Granting him full access to the Château of Cloux, (later known as Clos Luce) which was on the grounds and located only a few meters away from his own castle at Château d’Amboise. It is not known whether they were having a love affair, or whether King Francis just accepted his genius mind. Even with all the diaries and log books from the time, da Vinci’s sex life remains private.
Now open to the public, his home has been fully restored and furnished in the 16th-century style. The final years of his life at Château du Clos Lucé, were seemingly happy times, and he worked on several projects for King Francis, along with two of his trustworthy students. At the time, da Vinci was christened with the moniker “Renaissance Man” along with his contemporary Michelangelo, who was a sculptor, painter, architect and poet. A term which was befitting of both, working on the principle that man is the centre of the universe and has no limits. Knowledge is there to be consumed, questioned and embraced and every man should develop their own capacities for enrichment as fully as possible- which is completely