Royal Châteaux of the Loire Valley with Sandra Laville - Context Travel

Royal Châteaux of the Loire Valley with Sandra Laville


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Discover three of the most stunning residences of the Loire Valley region – The Châteaux of Amboise, Chambord and Chenonceau – and hear all about the lives of the Kings and Queens that lived there. If only the walls could speak…

From the 1400’s onwards, the Kings of France took up home in the Loire Valley region, just south of Paris, and engaged in a building frenzy, studding the valley with some of the country’s most spectacular royal palaces. For more than 3 centuries, these residences were the stage for the various intrigues, political disasters, and personal scandals at the French court. During the first part of the seminar, we will discuss the Château of Amboise, from early years of King Francis’ reign to his death in 1519. We will hear about Queen Catherine de’ Medici, wife of King Henri 2nd, and her five royal children that all grew up at Amboise, including future King Francis 2nd and his young fiancée, Mary Queen of Scots.

“Her spirit and exuberance for her subject matter shone through her introduction and presentation.”

Next, we will explore the Château of Chambord, the iconic symbol of the French Renaissance constructed from scratch by King Francis 1st. We’ll discuss the many famous guests that stayed at the palace over the centuries, from Holy Roman Emperor Charles 5th to King Stanislas Leszczynski of Poland, and admire the palace’s stunning Renaissance architecture.

Lastly, we will take a look at the Château of Chenonceau, one of the most startlingly beautiful castles in the region. Also known as the “château des dames” (the ladies’ castle), it was owned and embellished by many illustrious women over the years, including King Henri 2nd’s mistress Diane de Poitiers, and his wife, Queen Catherine de’ Medici.

“I thought she was terrific. Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic.”

Led by an expert on Modern European History (1492 – 1797), Sandra Laville, this interactive seminar will discuss three of the most spectacular royal palaces in France: Amboise, Chambord and Chenonceau. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the Loire Valley châteaux and the Kings and Queens that inhabited them.

Sandra is an art historian specializing in the link between European art, history and society from the 15th to the 19th centuries. She holds a Master's degree in Art History from the Université La Sorbonne, where she specialized in Italian Renaissance painting and the iconography of the modern European family. Originally from Canada, she also holds an undergraduate degree in Linguistics, with a double specialization in French and Spanish Language Civilization, and has lived in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and Rome, before finally settling in Paris.

This conversation is not suitable for children under age 16.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.