Today is the first instalment of my rather overdue travelogue of our Europe trip. All going well I will post these regularly with other posts added to the mix from time to time.
Without further adieu I will start with part one – Chateau Chaumont in the Loire Valley.
Interestingly enough this was not on my list of chateau to visit but was suggested by our charming host at our guest house in nearby Blois. At the time of our visit there was also an International Garden Festival and various art installations in the grounds. Art, gardens and history , some of my passions and all in one place -how could I resist.
The Chateau of Chaumont as it stands today was built in the late 15th. and early 16th. centuries and is emblamatic of the Loire Valley’s extraordinary development at a time when the royal court and its influence fostered such grand construction.
A little history of the chateau – first founded around the year thousand by Oldo 1 Count of Blois , to keep watch over the border between the county of Blois and the county of Anjou held by Fulk 111 Nerra.
The Norman knight Gelduin received Chaumont and shored up its fortress. His son and heir Geoffrey , with no child of his own , decided to pass it on to his great neice Denise de Fougres, who married Sulpice 1 d’Amboise in 1054. The chateau stayed in the d’Amboise family’s hands for five centuries.
In 1465, Louis x1 had Chaumont burned to the ground to punish Pierre 1 dÁmboise who was embroiled in an aristoctaic revolt against the king. He was given back his land upon his return to favour.
Between 1468 and 1481 Pierre and his son undertook a grand rebuilding of the chateau, incorporating defensive features , a symbol of power and privilege. Further construction undertaken between 1498 and 1511 by Charles 11 d’Amboise and Cardinal Georges d “Amboise features architectural influences from Italy.
A little peek at one of the many grand rooms inside.
Up in the attic rooms a collection of various no doubt unseen items have been turned into art installations. I found each one fascinating , obviously this was the armour display .
Another display this one quite a mixture , picture frames ,candle sticks , lights and a charming picture.
Now onto the gardens – this was just one of the many art works throughout the park like space. Even though we visited on a very busy day , it was both a special cultural weekend and near the end of the garden festival, because the area was so vast you never really felt too crowded.
The picturesque bridge crosses the ravine that separates the ornamental garden from other garden spaces is the grounds most prominent manmade feature. It is quite something with two footbridges at different levels linked by a spiral staircase set in a false tree trunk made of cement and covered with real ivy. It is quite a remarkable piece of work in the way it was constructed , made of reinforced cement given a rustic makeover to make it look like tree trunks and stripped bare branches on armouring made up of some 2,799 kg. of iron. It is a true 19th. century curiosity .
To be honest I have forgotten if this one was part of the garden festival or simply in the chateau grounds but I loved it , maybe I could replicate it in my garden.
This was taken in one of the display gardens . The International Garden Festival at Chaumont has been showcasing the work of landscape designers from around the world since 1992. The theme for 2023 was the Resilient Garden , most appropriate in our changing climate.
I will finally finish with a couple of the display gardens from the garden festival . I did like this one with its soft grey plantings and the woven structures.
That’s all for now , hope you enjoyed this rather long winded post , back soon.
Joining Gail at Is This Mutton.