France, Loire
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DaVinci

Last weekend, we drove up to Amboise to visit the Château du Clos Lucé, which was Leonardo DaVinci’s home for the last three years of his life. He was invited by France’s King Francis I to live in the Château, where he would devote himself to perfecting his inventions.

From the front entrance of the Château.

From the front entrance of the Château.

DaVinci house

Outside the Clos Lucé is the Parc Leonardo DaVinci, a beautiful sprawling park with a stream, pond, beautiful weeping willows and forested groves. Throughout the park, there are full-sized working replicas of DaVinci’s machines — pretty awesome for the kids especially as it gets them more involved and excited about the history.

The Helicopter

The Helicopter

The Hamster Wheel

The Hamster Wheel

Look! I was there again! (Derek says he took this picture just so that I would post it on the blog and say that again)

Look! I was there again! (Derek says he took this picture just so that I would post it on the blog and say that again)

Throughout the Parc there are many oversized translucent panels of DaVinci’s works and sketches hung in the trees. At first I thought that sounded really cheesy (and so might you!) but the effect was actually pretty cool, and seeing Mona Lisa smiling at you in the trees is pretty dreamy.

Mona Lisa in the trees.

Mona Lisa in the trees.

DaVinci panels

Vitruvian Man

Vitruvian Man.

Parc, with panel

The house itself was fairly basic as far as Châteaux go, with bedrooms, studio, dining room and kitchen. There were a number of really beautiful tapestries hanging on the walls, and frescoes painted by his pupils. The basement was really cool though, housing small replicas of DaVinci’s inventions, along with explanations and sketches. Of course I was distracted by a fidgety child and totally forgot to take any photos of said basement.

willows

Back garden, red roses everywhere.

Back garden, red roses everywhere.

The back garden was lovely, and we sat under an umbrella to have lunch at one of the on-site cafés. Derek felt obliged to have a DaVinci beer. As expected, it was a little sub-par. But, when in Rome…All in all it was a fun visit, with another of the many Loire Châteaux ticked off our checklist.

beer DaVinci

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