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  The Loire, the longest river in France, rises south of the Central Massif and flows into the Atlantic Ocean 1020 km later. This is the part that goes from the city of Orleans to the city of Tours, enclosing that area of the Loire Valley in which over 100 magnificent castles lie.

  What we are looking at is the castle of Beauregard. In this residence?? the central part has a double gallery with arcades opening onto the ground floor. Which was commissioned by Jean de Thier, secretary of state to Henri II. There is a collection of paintings quite unique in the world.

  This sumptuous salon, built in the 17th century, which is covered with exquisite woodwork and has a marvelous ceiling with decorated beams, contains over 300 portraits going from the first sovereign of the Valois up to Louis XIII of Bourbon. Here is Charles VIII, Louis XII and Francois I, it was primarily they who brought to the region: painters, cabinet-makers, sculptors, and architects, who were to live and work here.

  In this chapel, which has a nave and two aisles, there lies the tomb of a genius: Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo arrived in Amboise in 1517, having been invited to the court by Francois I, and was put up in this residence which is called Cols-Luce. The artist lived out the last years of his life here and Francois I acquired that masterpiece that even today represents one of France's treasures: the Mona Lisa.

  We continue on our way to visit another very special castle: Villandry. Built on the banks of the Loire in 1536 it is distinguished by its architectural peculiarity, which is characterized above all by its rectangular pavilions instead of round towers. But its fame is especially connected to the marvelous Italianate gardens. Here in Villandry he called Don Pacello da Mercogliano to the court, which were more a great Italian artist rather than a gardener. On the lower level, there is the decorative vegetable garden, the most visually striking and original of the whole estate. It is amazing to see how simple lettuces and vegetables manage to have this ornamental quality.

  Excellent wines are produced in the many vineyards in the ancient province of Touraine, which lies around Tours. Wines that make you love this area even more, just as the great writer Honore de Balzac also loved it. And in Touraine you also learn to love wine. Its history dates back as far as the Gauls and its international.

  reputation has certainly no need of further comment.

  The ones here are the dry white Sancere, strong and vibrant, Vouvray, sparking and clear, it looks like a waterfall of pearls. This wine reminded Rabelais, the great writer of the 16th century, of taffeta, a silky and delicate fabric.

  Those who love glowing reds will not be disappointed by the Loirs Valley: here is Bourgureil, with the strong perfume of raspberries. Chinon, on the other hand, has a delicate hint of violets.

  And so, glasses raised. A toast to the beauty of these dreamlike-places.

  A journey on the Loire is a meander in history, art and daily life. It is in a corner of Europe that etched itself deeply in the heart and mind.


  现在我们看到的是Beauregard城堡。在它的建筑中部有一个双层画廊,其拱廊从一层往上延伸开来。它是由亨利二世的国务大臣Jean De Their授权修建的。这里绘画藏品的风格在世界上也是独树一帜。



  我们要继续向前,参观另一座很有特色的城堡——Villandry。它于1536年建于卢瓦尔河畔,建筑特色使城堡蜚声遐迩。因为这里没有常见的圆形城堡,而是矩形的亭子。不过它的意大利式的园艺也是这里的特色之一。在Villandry,意大利园艺师Don Pacello Da Mercogliano更像是一位艺术家。在地势低的地方,还有一个装饰性的蔬菜花园,自然最原始的本色成为最令人赏心悦目的景色。这些最普通的菜蔬被神奇地赋予了装饰功能。