The blue chamber next door to the wedding room has more of 15th-century Flemish Millefleurs tapestries and a Renaissance wardrobe with figures of apostles. Royal chamber was the chamber of Charles VIII and it has tapestries from Bruges, Tournai, and Audenarde. Connected to it is the chapel where along the walls there is a collection of the 19th-century Langeais china that leads to the recreation (using large dressed-up mannequins) of the marriage of Charles VIII (son of Louis XI) and Anne of Brittany that took place in this newly built chateau on December 6, 1491 and led to the unification of Brittany and France. They got married in a small ceremony in secret. Charles was 21 and Anne was 14. The marriage was very important for France for strategic reasons and it was important that nobody prevented it. One of the clauses of the marriage contract was that Anne, in the event of her husband's death, would marry the next king of France. And this is exactly what happened. Louis, duke of Orleans, Charles VIII's cousin, who was present at the ceremony was to soon succeed Charles as the next king, Louis XII, and second husband of Anne of Brittany.
From the chapel, a gallery that goes all around the castle to let the soldiers reach various towers fast allows you to get a great view of the city. When you exit the gallery, you are on the other side of the floor, and there is another chamber with tapestries telling stories from the Old Testament. Next is Luini's room, named so because it houses a beautiful fresco by Luini "St Francis of Assisi and St Elizabeth of Hungary with Jesus".
There is a shop downstairs where you can buy a modern tapestry that is a miniature copy of the ones upstairs. And from the shop, you can enter the beautiful garden which was reconstructed as a medieval garden with blooming rose trees and manicured bushes, and look up close at the remains of the ancient dungeon wall that is still standing strong and hopefully will stand there for another thousand years.
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From journal birthplace of true knights
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November 9, 2003
From journal Chateaux de Langeais and Villandry
You start the tour of the collection with Salon des Fleurs (Flower room) that has three Flemish 16th-century tapestries on the walls in the Millefleurs (1000 flowers) manner -- the background is covered with flowers (hence the name), birds, animals, and coats of arms are scattered between them. The furniture along the walls is of dark wood - there is a Renaissance chest reinforced with iron and a Gothic bench of carved walnut with very fine artwork. Salle de Jeux has walls covered with frescoes -- on the red background, crowns with letters "A" and "K", several Gothic carved chests (on one you can see a bust of Seneca from Farnese collection), and amazing clay floor tiles have royal lilies and flower patterns.
Through the large Guard hall with marvelously carved benches, gorgeous chandeliers that repeat the chateau shape, a large white fireplace, tapestries with hunting scenes, painted wooden ceilings and a set-up table as if waiting for the king to return from the hunt, we come back to the staircase and go up to the next floor.
The Bedchamber with Italian and Flemish tapestries has a great view of the gardens. It connects with another chamber and Salle du Mariage (wedding room) where you can see 16th century tapestries in the Neuf Preux style from the atelier of la Marche (1525-1540) depicting biblical personages like Joshua and king David next to the classical heroes like Alexander the Great, Julius Ceasar, Hector of Troy and heroes of more recent times like Godefroy de Bouillon and king Arthur. The Neuf Preux style was very popular at that time and basically meant that a person was shown on a horse. The floor tiles are covered with flowers, exotic fish, animals, grapes and royal lilies. In the cabinets there are enamel plates showing Hector of Troy, and on the mantel you can see portraits of Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany.
Continued in Part III
From Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau, we drove to Chateau de Langeais. The chateau is located 22 km west of Tours, from Paris take A10 autoroute to exit 20 "Tours Sainte-Radegonde" in the direction of Saumur; if you are coming from Azay take route D751. The chateau is right in the center of the town and you cross the bridge across the Loire to get to it. To the right of the entrance to the chateau, we found a lovely Jardin Extraordinaire -- a small garden of flowers and bees and frogs seating in the pond right between the houses. Apparently, the day before, the town had a celebration of the apples and nuts harvest -- St Croix day. And if you walk down the street you encounter Church of St Jean-Baptiste with beautiful rose windows and tall Gothic ceilings.
The chateau was restored by Jacques Siegfried, a businessman and an art lover, who spent 20 years reconstructing the décor of the chateau, collecting tapestries, furniture, paintings, sculptures from the 15-16th centuries to recreate the atmosphere of the chateau the way it was when it was rebuilt. When Siegfried died, it was donated to the Institut de France in 1904. The chateau looks like a medieval fortress from the outside with its circular towers and the drawbridge, but the interior façade facing the gardens is in the Renaissance style with flamboyant decorations of the roof and windows. The original keep was built on that spot in year 1000 by Count d'Anjou Foulques Nerra (the Black Falcon) and the remaining wall of the Black Falcon Dungeon still stands in the garden. In the 12th century count d'Anjou became the king of England and Langeais became the most important strategic site at the time. After the 100-year war in the 15th century, Charles VII demolished the dungeon. The chateau was rebuilt thanks to Louis XI over the course of 3 years. The decorations inside are a great example of the décor of that time (15th century).
Continued in Part II
November 8, 2000
Langeais is not a pretty chateau certainly, but it is a very interesting one, not least because it was built all at one time and so retains a consistent character. The furnishings also reflect a single period, the 15th century, which is rather earlier than the period of many of the furnishings seen in other chateaux of the Loire valley. This is where Charles VIII and Anne of Brittany were married in 1491. I may have liked the inside, the furnishings, of this chateau more than any of the others. Each room has a different floor tile design--many with Charles's fleur de lys, Anne's ermine tail, and their son's ermine-tailed dolphin. The son died in infancy, to everyone's misfortune--Charles died without a son and, according to the terms of their marriage contract, Anne then had to marry the new king of France, Charles's cousin Louis.
The chateau is closed Mondays part of the year and Monday mornings the rest of the year, and closes for 2 hours at lunchtime most of the year; consult a guidebook for exact information. The entrance fee was 12 francs, and there was a recorded message in each room giving some information on the significance of what you were seeing. (I don't remember if the commentary was in multiple languages--I speak French well enough that I would not have noticed if it was only in French.)
From journal La Loire and Le Loir Valleys