Amboise allows no photos inside either, but we do take advantage of this view
from the tower. I'll also take advantage to tell you a little of what we've
learned from Catarina today:
Amboise is really the first French castle of the Renaissance. At the end
of the Hundred Years War, France was about to become a modern nation.
The English were booted out by Joan of Arc and Charles VII. Charles' son,
Louis XI, would focus first on Burgundy, the ally of the English and would
kill the Duke of Burgundy at the Battle of Nancy in 1477. Burgundy
would now be a part of France -- a conquest of war. Louis XI's next
conquest would be by marriage. Brittany was still an independent duchy,
but Louis would arrange a marriage between its powerful duchess Anne de
Bretagne and his son the future Charles VIII. Anne was a brilliant and
powerful woman and Charles VIII was a cunning and ambitious warrior.
With the English pushed out, the Burgundians subdued, and Brittany allied by
marriage, Charles turned his attention to the conquest of Italy. It was
there that he found the marvels of a Renaissance already well underway.
Anne and Charles began renovations of this castle that would revolutionize
French art. One fateful day, however, Charles bumped his head going
through one of the old doors in his favorite castle. At first no one
pays heed, but soon the king has a splitting headache and he is dead within a
few hours. Since Charles and Anne have no male heirs, the kingdom could
easily fall into civil war. They've already thought of a solution,
though. Charles' cousin Louis d'Orléans is a dashing soldier and a close
relative. He's even married to the king's sister, although they've never
consummated that marriage. Before his death, Charles gets a
promise from Anne to hold the kingdom together. She agrees, and the best
way to do so is obvious. She will have to marry Louis d'Orléans.
The Pope agrees and allows Louis to nullify his first marriage and to marry
Anne de Bretagne. This second marriage saves France from a new civil war
and it saves Amboise for a second series of innovations. Louis d'Orléans
is crowned Louis XII of France. Anne and Louis continue to transfer a
medieval fortress into a marvel of the Renaissance. This work is
continued by the next French king François I -- the great friend of Leonardo
de Vinci and builder of so many other great French castles.