Sunday, July 21, 2013

Azay-le-Rideau




Chateau Azay-le-Rideau

The chateau Azay-le-Rideau is often pictured in the travel brochures for France.  It is very photogenic. We have it up as the banner on our blog, if you are reading this close to the published date.   Although it is now in the middle of the town, one still has to walk down a fairly long tree lined lane to get to the main gate. The entire chateau is surrounded by flowing waters, so there is a peacefulness about the place.  As we were crossing the first bridge over the moat, a small English girl said, "Oh look!  A moat!  And it isn't broken!" That's right, there are no dry moats here!

The unbroken moat as seen from inside the chateau.

The gardens are mainly given over to lawn and trees.  We wished the trees were labeled as some looked like California Redwoods, but not quite right.  Maybe it's the French influence.  There were also several bushes blooming that really needed a name.  I told Bill they were "Walter Willmon's" as he would have loved the way they looked!  Pop was always a sucker for beautiful blooms!
Similar, but not exact.

I name thee "Walter Willmon".

The blooms were huge!

Inside the chateau there have been many renovations.  One was to open up the attics so visitors can see the beautiful support beams that allowed for the high ceilings in the rooms.  It was a new idea at the time this was being built, 1522.  The wood is oak taken from neighboring forests.



The most recent restoration is that of Philippe Lesbahy's bedchamber.  The results are breathtaking!  From the brochure: "The reproduction of the textile trimmings results from a scientific study based on the comparison of various painting from the second half of the 16th century with textiles from the Renaissance period preserved in public collections.  Covering the walls and floors with bulrush mats was common during the Renaissance. Although it seems that no such mat exist today in France, the remains of 16th century mat can be observed in Hampton Court Palace in England."   Since the mat has been recently made and hung, the smell in the room is like new mown hay.  A nice change from musty and old.
The lady of the house had a fancy bedchamber.
 The house has been owned by many people and now belongs to the State.  For a while, it must have stood empty for there is graffiti carved in several places.  Now, it is guarded by CCTV; hopefully no more graffiti.  There is, however, carvings on doors, ceilings and panels, by skilled artisans.
Graffiti from 1918 on a wall by one of the windows.

Beautifully carved front door.

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