The Vallée de Loire spanning 280 kilometres, is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France, and comprises about 800 square kilometres. It is referred to as the Cradle of the French and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards, artichoke and asparagus fields. In 2000, UNESCO added the central part of the Loire River valley to its list of World Heritage Sites.
The Loire Valley wine region is one of the world’s most well-known areas of wine production and includes several French wine regions such as Muscadet, Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé. But our focus here, on on the majesty of its architectural heritage, especially its châteaux such as the Amboise, Azay-le-Rideau, Blois, Chambord, Chenonceau, Chinon, Ussé or Villandry, to name a few as they number over three hundred. The illustrate to an exceptional degree the ideals of the Renaissance and the Age of the Enlightenment.
Francois Ier is considered the iconic king of the period of the French Renaissance, inseparable from the history of his most beautiful castles, Amboise, Blois or Chambord. His reign makes France an important development in the arts and letters and at yhe time he ascended the throne, the ideas of the Italian Renaissance were broadcast in France and the King contributed to this diffusion and brought many artists to the kingdom, among them, Andrea del Sarto, Benvenuto Cellini or Leonardo da Vinci.
François Ier showed a real affection for Leonardo da Vinci, whom he calls « my father » and installed him in the Château du Clos Lucé, a few hundred meters from the Royal Castle of Amboise. Vinci brought in his luggage some of his most famous works such as the Mona Lisa or The Virgin and Child … The king entrusted him many missions as the organization of festivals of the Court, costume design and the study of various projects. Vinci remains in France from 1516 until his death in 1519 in the King’s arms, according to the legend.