Le Tour 2005 - A Virtual Cultural Trip

Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 06:23 am
Okay, back to the Tour.

We leave the salty air of the Vendée


and roll (on July 4) onwards to the Loire countrysite.

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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 07:46 am
Cholet is the first plac, we make a rest on our way.

And what is neither to do so than in a castle


The Château de la Tremblaye, a work of the famous architect René Hodé, was built in 1862 on a 15th century estate. It is the historical place of the Cholet battle where Lescure, a great head of Vendée, got mortally wounded. It's totally decorated in the style of that period.

(The battle of Chilon)

We are cycling, aren't we? So, why not visit something which has to do with those poor walkers, the regional shoe museum (Museum de l'industrie regionale de las chassure)?

Musée de l' Industrie Régionale de la Chaussure
3, rue des Bordages
49450 Saint André de la Marche

Well, and what about some natural medicine?

«Le jardin des plantes médicinales et aromatiques» (The garden of medical and aromatique plants) is close by, at Chemillé, an initiation to natural medicine.

And to finish, we'll eat and drink a bit here

Cave Vivante du Champignon
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 09:28 am
Château de Montreuil- Bellay


On the top of a rocky spur, the fortress still bears the stamp of Foulques Nerra, as show the ramparts, the towers, the barbican and the large medieval kitchen. In the Renaissance, the lords of Harcourt converted it into a country residence. Inside the new castle, the Grand salon and the duchess of Longueville's bedroom are sumptuously furnished.


49260 Montreuil-Bellay
Opening Times: interieur, open daily except Tuesday from April to October

Chateau Montreuil-Bellay in the town of Montreuil-Bellay, dertement of Maine-et-Loire, France, was first built on the site of a Gallo-Roman village high on a hill on the banks of the Thouet River.

The property, consisting of more than 1,000 acres, was acquired by a Bellay family member in 1025 but was seized by a Plantagenet during the second half of the 1100s. After the defeat of the English by King Philippe II, a Bellay descendant, Guillaume de Melun, had the massive high walls constructed with 13 interlocking towers and accessible by a fortified gateway.

As a huge defensive fortress the construction created a virtual walled city. In the 15th century the interior of the complex was modernized with a new chateau and a collegiate church with several residences for canons.

During the French Wars of Religion (1562-1598) the town of Montreuil-Bellay was ransacked and burned but the sturdy fortress suffered little damage. Ownership of the chateau changed several times including, through marriage, to the Cossrissac family until the French Revolution when the chateau was seized by the revolutionary government and used as a prison for females suspected of being royalists.


In 1822 the property was acquired by Saumur businessman, Adrien Niveleau, who divided the huge property into rental units. In 1860 Niveleau's daughter undertook occupancy and a major restoration campaign, redoing some of the rooms in what is known as the Troubadour style. Descendants of her husband´'s nephew still own the property to this day.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 10:59 am


The main part of Tours lies in the scenic Loire Valley, between the Loire River and the canalized portion of the Cher River that is to the Loire's immediate south.
Tours is the capital of the Département of Indre-et-Loire.


History in short:
Medieval center of learning; scene of victory of Charles Martel over Saracens 732; developed prosperous silk industry 15th century; depopulated after revocation of Edict of Nantes 1685; French government seat during Siege of Paris 1870; birthplace of Balzac.


Tours is the main tourist center for the Loire Valley and for excursions to the nearby historic chateaux of the Loire.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 12:17 pm

Tours is said to be the original home of the French language and the "art de vivre".


Abundance and diversity of the cultural activities represent one of the characteristics of Tours.


And, Tours is the city of 30 street markets.

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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 12:18 pm
Out of the several museums, I just want to mention three:


The museum is set in the old archbishop's palace and features a remarkably rich and varied collection. Highlights include a magnificent series of Italian primitives and two masterpieces by Mantegna, Christ in the Garden of Olives and the Resurrection, from the retable at San Zeno in Verona.


Masterpieces from the 15th to 20th centuries including works by Mantegna, Rubens, Le Sueur, Nattier, Boucher, Degas, Delacroix, Debré in addition to some fine 18th century French furniture.


Te Touraine Wine Museum is set in the heart of Tours in magnificent, vaulted 13th century cellars. It evokes the history of wine and wine growing through the traditions, techniques, festivals and fellowships that have been associated with wine over the centuries.


Magnificent collections of silverware (wine-tasting cups) a copper still, the costumes of the Touraine wine fellowship and a variety of wine growers' tools are on display in different sections organised around specific themes.

Musée saint Martin - the only museum in France dedicated to St. Martin

The new Basilica of St-Martin was designed by Victor Laloux in the 19th century. It houses the shrine of St-Martin and attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year. The museum features the remains of the churches that have stood on this site since the original basilica.


Fragments of St-Martin's tomb (5th century), wall paintings from the Tour Charlemagne (11th century) and from the tomb, 12th century decor and capitals and architectural elements dating from the reconstruction of the choir evoke the great age of mediaeval architecture in Tours and France. The main events in the life of St-Martin are from the Tour Charlemagne (11th century) and from the tomb, 12th century decor and capitals and architectural elements dating from the reconstruction of the choir evoke the great age of mediaeval architecture in Tours and France. The main events in the life of St-Martin are evoked in texts narrated by his chronicler Sulpice Sévère.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 12:41 pm
I suppose, no-one really wants to watch only miniatures

Mini-châteaux / La Menaudière - D31 / 37400 AMBOISE

So, we will do the "real" «tour des plus beaux châteaux de la Loire» soon ...

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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 01:38 pm
The Loire district is a fertile place where a rich farm land is spread on both sides of the Loire river, that is the reason why it is oftenly called the "garden of France". There are more than 30 castles and abbeys between Orleans and Tours, so it is called the Valley of the Kings.

French kings had settled in the Loire valley since the Middle Age. Little by little, strongholds had become magnificent castles of the Renaissance, which had been restored during the 17th and 18th centuries. These castles tell about the suprising history of the great kingdom of France. You will find there, still lively, the enchanting charm of this fabulous past.

Castles do not constitute the whole richness of the Loire Valley:

- firstly, there are incredible troglodyte houses near Saumur,


- secondly, nature of the Loire valley is beautiful and generous. Some of the best gardeners have magnificently tamed this nature in gardens as at Villandry, in labyrinths and still do with the gardens festival of Chaumont-sur-Loire,


- finally, the Loire valley is an area of good food and wines.
This is not a coincidence if Rabelais, author of "Gargantua" and "Pantagruel", was born there. Actually, there are great red and white wines and succulent food specialities as shad, pike, rillettes.

0 Replies
Reply Sat 2 Jul, 2005 04:45 pm
Have pulled up a comfortable chair and am Chateau-ready...
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Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 04:14 am
That's the garden show I went to in May, second from bottom! Jolly nice it was too.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 10:13 am
Let's start now with the castles .... and in Tour:



Now containing the Sociétë Archéologique de Touraine, the Hótel Goüin is a masterpiece of a Renaissance style mansion in the oldest part of the city. Built by René Gardette, a rich silk merchant, in the 15th century, it was later owned by the Goüin family of bankers. In 1940, the building was badly damaged by a fire caused by a bombing raid on the city centre. It has been restored, is in use as a museum, and preserves a set of 18C physics instruments from Chenonceau tested by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.


Open all year
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 01:15 pm
For those, who just want fast (and short) information, following now are one photo and a descrition of each the main castles (well, at least of those, which are generally selected by bus-tour operators as those ... Laughing ).


Allez! On y va...
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 01:18 pm
Château Royal d' Amboise

37400 Amboise

Open all year


A crown ownership from 1431 raised in the 15th and 16th century by order of Charles VII, Louis XII and François I, the château d'Amboise ranks among Gothic and Renaissance architectural masterpieces.
It houses a collection of furnishings from these two periods as well as two Empire salons.
Leonardo da Vinci, who spent his last few years in Amboise, rests in the castle's Saint-Hubert chapel, a fine example of flamboyant Gothic architecture.

Château d'Amboise website
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 01:19 pm
Château d' Azay-le-Rideau

37190 Azay-le-Rideau

Open all year


Erected on an Indre island in 1518 by Gilles Berthelot, financier of François I, Azay-le-Rideau is a jewel of Renaissance art in Loire country.
Its architecture which ideally combines French tradition and Italian influence has come down to us unaltered.
The sumptuously furnished interior apartments house a collection of French and Flemish 16 and 17C tapestries.
The romantic gardens provide beautiful views of the castle and of the Indre banks.

Château d'Azay-le-Rideau website
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 01:19 pm
Château royal de Blois

41000 Blois

Open all year


Blois testifies to the major trends of French architecture.
A fortress in the 13th century, it has preserved the Gothic States-General hall from this period.

In the 15th century, Louis XII undertook the building of a Renaissance castle which was to be wonderfully perfected by François I in 16th century.
In the 17th century, Mansart supplemented it with a new Classical wing.
This castle is bound to the memory of the assassination of the duke of Guise.
The interiors house lavish collections of paintings, sculptures and archaeological items.

Château de Blois website
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 01:19 pm
Château de Chambord

41250 Bracieux

Open all year


Dreamt of by François I, credited to Leonardo da Vinci, Chambord is a peak of French Renaissance art.
The building works begun in 1519 were completed by Louis XIV in 1685.
Its brilliant architecture and imposing dimensions are a manifesto of the power of French monarchy in Europe.
The interior apartments display a lavish décor most renowned for its double revolution staircase.
Dedicated to hunting from the start, Chambord is surrounded by a huge forest domain now become a national preserve.

Château de Chambord website
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 01:20 pm
Château de Cheverny

41700 Cheverny

Open all year

Ranking among the most beautiful of Loire castles, Cheverny was put up in the early 17th century by Count Henri de Hurault after plans inspired by those of the Luxembourg gardens.
Its Bourré white stone façade in the purest Louis XIII style is decked out with imitation-antique statues.
It houses an outstanding collection of furnishings, tapestries and painting masterpieces by Titian, Clouet or Rigaud.
Not to be missed, the Tintin exhibition "Moulisart's secrets".

Château de Cheverny website
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 01:20 pm
Château de Chenonceau

37150 Chenonceaux

Open all year


Erected in the 16th century by Thomas Bohier, district collector of taxes in Normandy, Chenonceau is built on the site of a former stronghold and of a fortified mill of which only remains the donjon known as the de Marques tower.
Henri II gave it to Diane de Poitiers, his favourite, in 1547.
When the king died, it passed to Catherine of Medici who kept extending and beautifying it.
The greatest French and Italian Renaissance artists succeeded one another there.
Its gardens are the stage of an entertainment on each summer night.

Château de Chenonceau website
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 01:29 pm
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Reply Sun 3 Jul, 2005 01:48 pm
Offhand, I like Cheverny best, re the facade I could see on the website. I'll take that one! Although I would take Chambord too, if someone gave it to me.
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