Château d'Amboise

Château d'Amboise

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Château d'Amboise'
Start a new discussion about 'Château d'Amboise'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The royal Château at Amboise is a château
Château
A château is a manor house or residence of the lord of the manor or a country house of nobility or gentry, with or without fortifications, originally—and still most frequently—in French-speaking regions...

 located in Amboise
Amboise
Amboise is a commune in the Indre-et-Loire department in central France. It lies on the banks of the Loire River, east of Tours. Today a small market town, it was once home of the French royal court...

, in the Indre-et-Loire
Indre-et-Loire
Indre-et-Loire is a department in west-central France named after the Indre and the Loire rivers.-History:Indre-et-Loire is one of the original 83 départements created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790...

 département of the Loire Valley
Loire Valley
The Loire Valley , spanning , is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. Its area comprises approximately . It is referred to as the Cradle of the French Language, and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards, and artichoke, asparagus, and...

 in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

.

Origins and royal residence



Built on a promontory overlooking the Loire River to control a strategic ford that was replaced in the Middle Ages by a bridge and the château began its life in the eleventh century, when the notorious Fulk Nerra
Fulk III of Anjou
Fulk III , called Nerra after his death, was Count of Anjou from 21 July 987 to his death. He was the son of Geoffrey Greymantle and Adelaide of Vermandois....

, Count of Anjou, rebuilt the stronghold in stone.

Expanded and improved over time, on 4 September 1434 it was seized by Charles VII of France
Charles VII of France
Charles VII , called the Victorious or the Well-Served , was King of France from 1422 to his death, though he was initially opposed by Henry VI of England, whose Regent, the Duke of Bedford, ruled much of France including the capital, Paris...

, after its owner, Louis d'Amboise, was convicted of plotting against Louis XI
Louis XI of France
Louis XI , called the Prudent , was the King of France from 1461 to 1483. He was the son of Charles VII of France and Mary of Anjou, a member of the House of Valois....

 and condemned to be executed in 1431. However, the king pardoned him but took his chateau at Amboise (from brochure at Chateau Royale d' Amboise, 2007). Once in royal hands, the château became a favourite of French kings; Charles VIII
Charles VIII of France
Charles VIII, called the Affable, , was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. Charles was a member of the House of Valois...

 decided to rebuild it extensively, beginning in 1492 at first in the French late Gothic Flamboyant style and then after 1495 employing two Italian mason-builders, Domenico da Cortona and Fra Giocondo, who provided at Amboise some of the first Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 decorative motifs seen in French architecture. The names of three French builders are preserved in the documents: Colin Biart, Guillaume Senault and Louis Armangeart.

Amboise was the site where a garden laid out somewhat in the Italian manner was first seen in France: the site of the origin of the French formal garden. At the time of Charles VIII, an Italian priest, Pasello da Mercogliano, is credited with laying it out. Charles widened the upper terrace, to hold a larger parterre
Parterre
A parterre is a formal garden construction on a level surface consisting of planting beds, edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging, and gravel paths arranged to form a pleasing, usually symmetrical pattern. Parterres need not have any flowers at all...

, enclosed with latticework and pavilions; round it Louis XII
Louis XII of France
Louis proved to be a popular king. At the end of his reign the crown deficit was no greater than it had been when he succeeded Charles VIII in 1498, despite several expensive military campaigns in Italy. His fiscal reforms of 1504 and 1508 tightened and improved procedures for the collection of taxes...

 built a gallery, which can be seen in the 1576 engraving by Jacques Androuet du Cerceau
Androuet du Cerceau
Androuet du Cerceau was a family of French architects and designers active in the 16th and early 17th century.*Jacques I Androuet du Cerceau *Jean Baptiste Androuet du Cerceau...

, in Les plus excellens bastimens de France. The parterres have been recreated in the twentieth century as rectangles of lawns set in gravel and a formal bosquet
Bosquet
In the French formal garden, a bosquet is a formal plantation of trees, at least five of identical species planted as a quincunx, or set in strict regularity as to rank and file, so that the trunks line up as one passes along either face...

 of trees.

King Francis I
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...

 was raised at Amboise, which belonged to his mother, Louise of Savoy
Louise of Savoy
Louise of Savoy was a French noble, Duchess regnant of Auvergne and Bourbon, Duchess of Nemours, the mother of King Francis I of France...

, and during the first few years of his reign the château reached the pinnacle of its glory. As a guest of the King, Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 came to Château Amboise in December 1515 and lived and worked in the nearby Clos Lucé
Clos Lucé
Clos Lucé is a mansion in Amboise, France, located 500 metres from the royal Château d'Amboise, to which it is connected by an underground passageway. Built by Étienne le Loup in the middle of the fifteenth century, it was acquired in 1490 by Charles VIII of France for his wife, Anne de Bretagne...

, connected to the château by an underground passage. Tourists are told that he is buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, adjoining the Château, which had been built in 1491–96.

Henry II
Henry II of France
Henry II was King of France from 31 March 1547 until his death in 1559.-Early years:Henry was born in the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, near Paris, the son of Francis I and Claude, Duchess of Brittany .His father was captured at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 by his sworn enemy,...

 and his wife, Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France....

, raised their children in Château Amboise along with Mary Stuart, the child Queen of Scotland who had been promised in marriage to the future French Francis II
Francis II of France
Francis II was aged 15 when he succeeded to the throne of France after the accidental death of his father, King Henry II, in 1559. He reigned for 18 months before he died in December 1560...

.

Amboise conspiracy



In 1560, during the French Wars of Religion
French Wars of Religion
The French Wars of Religion is the name given to a period of civil infighting and military operations, primarily fought between French Catholics and Protestants . The conflict involved the factional disputes between the aristocratic houses of France, such as the House of Bourbon and House of Guise...

, a conspiracy by members of the Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

 House of Bourbon
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 against the House of Guise
House of Guise
The House of Guise was a French ducal family, partly responsible for the French Wars of Religion.The Guises were Catholic, and Henry Guise wanted to end growing Calvinist influence...

 that virtually ruled France in the name of the young Francis II was uncovered by the comte de Guise and stifled by a series of hangings, which took a month to carry out. By the time it was finished, 1200 Protestants were gibbetted, strung from the town walls, hung from the iron hooks that held pennants and tapestries on festive occasions and from the very balcony of the Logis du Roy. The Court soon had to leave the town because of the smell of corpses.

The abortive peace of Amboise was signed at Amboise on 12 March 1563, between Louis I de Bourbon, Prince de Condé
Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé
Louis de Bourbon was a prominent Huguenot leader and general, the founder of the House of Condé, a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon.-Life:...

, who had been implicated in the conspiracy to abduct the king, and Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici
Catherine de' Medici was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France....

. The "edict of pacification", as it was termed, authorised Protestant services only in chapels of seigneurs and justices, with the stipulation that such services be held outside the walls of towns. Neither side was satisfied by this compromise, nor was it widely honored.


Decline


Amboise never returned to royal favour. At the beginning of the 17th century, the huge château was all but abandoned when the property passed into the hands of Gaston d'Orleans
Gaston, Duke of Orléans
Gaston of France, , also known as Gaston d'Orléans, was the third son of King Henry IV of France and his wife Marie de Medici. As a son of the king, he was born a Fils de France. He later acquired the title Duke of Orléans, by which he was generally known during his adulthood...

, the brother of the Bourbon King Louis XIII
Louis XIII of France
Louis XIII was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1610 to 1643.Louis was only eight years old when he succeeded his father. His mother, Marie de Medici, acted as regent during Louis' minority...

. After his death it returned to the Crown and was turned into a prison during the Fronde
Fronde
The Fronde was a civil war in France, occurring in the midst of the Franco-Spanish War, which had begun in 1635. The word fronde means sling, which Parisian mobs used to smash the windows of supporters of Cardinal Mazarin....

, and under Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

 it held disgraced minister Nicolas Fouquet
Nicolas Fouquet
Nicolas Fouquet, marquis de Belle-Île, vicomte de Melun et Vaux was the Superintendent of Finances in France from 1653 until 1661 under King Louis XIV...

 and the duc de Lauzun
Antoine Nompar de Caumont
Antoine Nompar de Caumont, marquis de Puyguilhem, duc de Lauzun was a French courtier and soldier. He was the only love interest of the "greatest heiress in Europe", Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, cousin of Louis XIV.-Biography:...

. Louis XV made a gift of it to his minister the duc de Choiseul
Étienne François, duc de Choiseul
Étienne-François, comte de Stainville, duc de Choiseul was a French military officer, diplomat and statesman. Between 1758 and 1761, and 1766 and 1770, he was Foreign Minister of France and had a strong influence on France's global strategy throughout the period...

. During the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, the greater part of the château was demolished, a great deal more destruction was done, and an engineering assessment commissioned by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in the early 19th century resulted in a great deal of the château having to be demolished.

King Louis-Philippe
Louis-Philippe of France
Louis Philippe I was King of the French from 1830 to 1848 in what was known as the July Monarchy. His father was a duke who supported the French Revolution but was nevertheless guillotined. Louis Philippe fled France as a young man and spent 21 years in exile, including considerable time in the...

 began restoring it during his reign but with his abdication in 1848, the château was confiscated by the government and became for a while the home in exile to Emir Abd Al-Qadir. In 1873, Louis-Philippe’s heirs were given control of the property and a major effort to repair it was made. However, during the German invasion in 1940 the château was damaged further.

Since 1840, the Château d'Amboise has been listed as a monument historique
Monument historique
A monument historique is a National Heritage Site of France. It also refers to a state procedure in France by which national heritage protection is extended to a building or a specific part of a building, a collection of buildings, or gardens, bridges, and other structures, because of their...

by the French Ministry of Culture. Today, the present comte de Paris, descendant of Louis-Philippe, repairs and maintains the château through the Fondation Saint-Louis.

See also


  • Gardens of the French Renaissance
    Gardens of the French Renaissance
    The Gardens of the French Renaissance is a garden style largely inspired by the Italian Renaissance garden, particularly the gardens of Florence and Rome. King Charles VIII and his nobles brought the style back to France after their campaign in Italy in 1495...

  • List of castles in France

External links