The castle of Amboise
Built on a rock headland dominating the city of Amboise and the Loire, this old medieval fortress preserved this time an enclosure, which contains the actual castle.
The seigniory of Amboise is attached to the crown in 1431 per Charles VII who orders to do some work. There are not many informations on the course of constructions former at that time. Louis XI reinforces the defense of the castle and installs there his wife, Charlotte of Savoy, and his children.
A few years later, Charles VIII is born in Amboise. From the very start of its reign, in 1491, it undertakes l'importante transformation of the feudal fortress. Work will proceed without interruption during six years. The castle is divided then into three courses: a principal court around which are built in north the Home of the King and the south the Home of the Virtues (name given d'après the iconographic program of the theological and cardinal virtues of the statues of the frontage), the farmyard in the south and a third court with l'ouest.
There does not remain today, of this vast unit, that the Home of the King (of which the frontage faces the Loire), theSaint-Hubert vault and two towers called Hurtault tower and turn of the Tiny ones. The castle of Amboise is a Gothic construction: in accordance with the medieval esthetic , the ornementation of the Home of the King concentrates on the high parts (cornice, attic window) and verticality directs the elevation. In addition, of clever installations were realized as in the Hurtault turns and of Tiny which are turns stairs whose screws are without steps so that the slope can be climbed by light riders or attachments. But the most beautiful element of the castle is undoubtedly the Saint-Hubert vault whose stone the ornementation, often compared with lace, points out the Flemish retables. The names Flemish of artists such as Corneille of Nesve appear in the files and attest that this vault with the rich person blazing decoration profited of apports foreign. In 1498, Charles VIII dies accidentally by running up against the lintel d'une carries low in a gallery. The castle passes then between the hands of Louis XII then of François 1st, who made there complete a wing of home. At the XVII th century, the castle is used as royal prison. It is shaven at the beginning of the XIXth century by Roger-Ducos, a close relation of Napoleon: are saved only the still visible parts today.
The rock on which is built the castle was strengthened as of the Gallo-Roman time. very soon, a bridge is thrown on the river and the military importance of Amboise still grows. During a part of XIth century. there are two fortresses on the headland and one in the city, all three in continual fights. The counts d'Amboise take the top and the field remains in this family until her confiscation by Charles VII.
The king Charles VIII at work (end of 15th cent.).
Louis XI fact of the castle of Amboise the residence of the queen, Charlotte de Savoie.It's there that is born the dolphin, the future Charles VIII. He is only 13 years old when he become king, and his sister, Anne de Beaujeu, exerts on him a great influence. Last nine years after, in 1492, it order to begin work of Amboise. Young person, burning, it wants quickly to be been useful. One works , the night in the light of the torches. The winter, one heats the stones to be able to work them. Little by little ground one leaves vastest and the most beautiful royal residences, at the same time palate and fortress.
Its return from Italy.
Charles VIII has the taste of ostentation, He is well prepared to receive, as of his entry in Italy, the revelation of a richer life and of an art more refined. Of its forwarding (1496). He brings back to Amboise enormous spoils pieces of furniture, tables, fabrics, ustensils various. It also recruited a whole érudite team, architects, sculptors, ornemanists, gardeners, tailors d'habits. II has until there a chicken stockbreeder who introduces in France the incubator. Charles VIII was filled with wonder by the Italian gardens: He seems, writes he, that he does not miss that Adam and Eve to make a terrestrial paradise of them ". As of his return, the king makes trace by the Pacello gardener, on the terrace of Amboise, an ornemental garden. Among the architects, there is Boccador which collaborated certainly in Blois and Chambord and which will begin the Town hall of Paris. This date of 1496 marks the beginning of Italian influence on French art. Not very sensitive on Amboise, started since 4 years, it will grow under Louis XII and will triumph under François 1st.
A tragic end.
April 7, 1498, in the afternoon, Charles VIII comes to seek the queen to show him a part of palm in the ditch of the castle. They must pass by a gallery of which the door, very low, open in the precinct. Charles VIII, although of small size, runs up against it face. The immediate shock has no effect and the king attends the part while devisant. Suddenly, it falls to the shift and loses consciousness. One lays down it on a straw mattress in a malodorous place and the confusion is such that he remains until there what, towards 11 H oursof the evening, it returned the last sigh.
The swirl of the festivals under François 1st (beginning of 16th c.).
François of Angoulême, future Francis 1, is only 6 years old when, with his mother, Louise of Savoy and his sister, Marguerite, who will be celebrates it and well-read woman Marguerite of Navarre, he arrives at Amboise, his new residence. The young French receives with the castle an intellectual education , sporting and military very complete. He will live there during the first three years of his reign. It's at this time that Amboise shines of sound sharper glare. The life of court get organized. Splendid festivals follow one another balls, tournaments, masquerades, combat of wild beasts. Francis 1 finish the wing of the castle started with Louis XII. Impassioned for arts, it makes come in Amboise large Léonardo da Vinci who will spend there the last years of his life and there will be buried.
The conspiracy of Amboise (1560).
It throws on the castle a bloody reflection. A protesting gentleman, Renaudie, joined together in Brittany of reformed which must go to Blois by small groups. They will ask for to the king freedom of practise their worship and undoubtedly also will try to put the hand on the Own way, adversaries keen of Huguenots.
But the plot don't stay secret. The court leaves Blois which is not justifiable and takes refuge in Amboise. Entreated are killed or stopped as they arrive. Renaudie Perishes. Repression is inexorable: some entreated are hung with the large balcony of the castle, the crenels, or are thrown to the Loire in bags, the gentlemen decapitated and quartered. One claimed that Catherine de Médicis, Francis II and his young wife Marie Stuart would have come after dining, in spite of the stink who released themselves from all these corpses, to attend the hung last grimaces or to look at falling the heads.
Last ordeals (of the 16th cent. at our days).
After these terrible events, the castle is given up by the kings. Louis XIII only comes there to drive out in the forest. Simple tastes, it prepares itself its meal: "an omelet with onions sprinkled with two wine blows".
At the same time as Blois, Amboise passes to the hands of Gaston d'Orléans, brother of Louis XIII. In 1631, with the course d'une of its many rebellions, the castle is taken by the royal troops and the shaven external fortifications.
After the death of Gaston d'Orléans, Amboise returns to the crown. It is used as prison. Louis XIV sends the Fouquet superintendent to it, then Lauzun, the ladykiller.
Louis XV gives Amboise to the duke of Choiseul. The Revolution confiscates it. Napoleon gives it to Roger Ducos, the ancient member of the Directory. For lack of subsidies for the maintenance, the Senate makes cut down a great part of the castle. In 1940, bombardments damage what in remainder.
The field is the joint ownership of the princes of the house of France.
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