The Châteaux of France

Today, I went on my last excursion with my school in Angers to three of the most famous châteaux in France. We started the day at the Châteaux de la Loire Chenonceau, which is an insanely magnificent castle, complete with a moat, in the Loire Valley of France. We took a tour of the entire palace, with extravagant bedrooms for different members of the Medici family, and other royalty at different time periods. The entire grounds of the castle were shockingly beautiful, complete with a garden and an intricate labyrinth that was fun to get lost in. Although going to Versailles a few weeks ago was lovely, I actually preferred visiting these three unique castles today. Although they are popular, they were not swarmed with crowds like Versailles and I was actually able to take my time and enjoy myself while strolling through the village-like areas of the Chateaux.


After the first castle, we moved on to explore Leonardo da Vinci's home, called Le Clos Lucé, that he lived in for several years until hid death. The grand maison featured real working models of his sketches about time and space, several paintings and sketches completed by the man himself, and overall I could feel a sense of wonderful historicism while meandering through his house. One of my favorite parts, if not the best part of today, was renting a boat to travel around the small lake surrounding da Vinci's house. The boat was man-powered (using one of da Vinci's original models). and I had an absolutely wonderful time with my friends!

The final adventure of the day included visiting Chambord, one of the biggest, most fantastic fortresses in France. This absolutely huge castle, also designed in part by da Vinci, has mysteries around every corner, and some of the most beautiful winding staircases I have seen in my life. Built in 1519 at the true epitome of the Renaissance, this work of art has seen it all, from multiple revolutions to the largest wars mankind has ever experienced. Fascinatingly and thankfully, this grande palace was not bombed during World War II, and still stands today in its shining glory.



Visiting these three unique and jaw-dropping Chateaux today was unbelievably brilliant. I am sad, though, that that was my last excursion here in Angers. For the final excursion (and the final weekend of the program next weekend), I will be in Sweden visiting my dear friend Cameron. Although I am sad I do not get to attend the final trip with the class to Giverny and check out Monet's garden, I am overwhelmed with excitement to go visit Cameron and see where he is living for this next semester. As always, thanks for keeping updated, and talk to you soon!

-Annie

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