The Big Chill

François I was also a friend of other geniuses of the day, one was François Rabelais, author of Gargantua (a great book that gave its name to our restaurant today).  François also admired, at least for a while, the intellectual power of Jean Calvin (John Calvin), a former French priest who was now preaching radical religious reform.  Upon François' death, France had divided into two camps -- Catholic and Protestant.  François' son, Henri II along with his masterful wife Catherine de Médicis, would manage the situation more or less well, but Henri was killed in a tragic jousting accident in 1559.  His son François II was just 15 and married to the radical catholic Mary Stewart (future Mary Queen of Scotts).  François arranged for a meeting with the Protestant generals here in Amboise.  The rumor soon spread that the heretics were plotting to kidnap the king.  Upon their arrival here he had them all arrested and tried for treason.  5000 Huguenots were executed in the courtyard here.  As an example to others, heads were lifted on poles, bodies were hung over the castle walls, and others were thrown into the Loire.  One legend says that François II, his wife Mary Stewart, and his mother Catherine de Médicis had a picnic on the terrace among the rotting cadavers -- quite a different sight than one we witness today.
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This page last updated on 6/23/2003 10:40:15 PM.