Blois and Da Vinci's last home

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Today was a slower morning...girls were having fun playing with their toys..so we figured we'd just get to one spot today. 
The day started off sunny...but by the end, it was dark and cloudy with a bit of rain.  I loved it.
We drove over to the town of Blois.  One of the most interesting bits of history about Blois (at least to me) is that Joan of Arc used the city as her base of operations to make her plans to release the city of Orleans.  The chateau in Blois was once occupied by King Louis XII.  It was also here that Joan of Arc was blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing to Orleans.  Chateau de Blois was constructed between the 13th and 17th centuries.  It has 564 rooms, 75 staircases, 100 bedrooms and a fireplace in every room.  Of course, our favorite part was sitting on the throne!  :)
After we saw the chateau it was time for lunch (kids were getting cranky).  Then we headed for the oldest part of town and just enjoyed walking around and taking in the sites.  When the rain started it was time to head home.  We stopped at the grocery store, bought the fixings needed for dinner (and of course more pork and wine) and headed home for an early night.  Ended the evening watching a movie together in the family room.  It was a really nice day.

The following morning we had decided to head out to see the last place Leonardo ever lived (da Vinci, not Dicaprio)  I wasn't really sure what to expect and let me tell you...I am so glad we went.  It is such a great place to visit for both kids and adults alike.  There were tons of school children there on field trips mixed in with us silly tourists.
The walk to the chateau was fun as well because we passed by many old homes...that had been literally built into the rock wall.  They were so cool!  I would have given anything to see the insides.  (see pix in one of the collages below)  
Little background info:
Clos Luce (the name of the mansion) is located 500 meters from Chateau de Amboise.  The two are connected by an underground tunnel which was used by da Vinci and Francios I to be able to visit with each other.  The home was used as a summer residence of the kings of France.  
Today the Château du Clos Lucé is a listed monument, and has belonged to the Saint Bris family since 1854. Restoration work inside and outside was begun in the 1960s to restore the building’s Renaissance appearance. The kitchen, the great Council Chamber, the bedroom, the underground rooms where forty machines designed by Leonardo da Vinci are displayed, as well as the chapel and its frescoes, have all been restored to their appearance of yesteryear. 
We toured the home first...moving at a brisker pace than we would have liked...but the kids had seen the expansive green grounds and wanted to get back outside.  It was such a beautiful place and I loved all the exposed brick.  Matt was in heaven when we reached the underground rooms and da Vinci's inventions...the girls were mesmerized as well at the TV monitors showing how some of the machines worked.  It was incredible to see what Leonardo's mind created in a time where none of it belonged.  
We left the home and headed outside...where Sara got very excited and announced "Look Mommy!  Leonardo even had his own restaurant!"  After wiping the tears of laughter off our faces and regaining ourselves, the hubby and I took the girls to see the gardens.  This was the really cool part.  Throughout the grounds they had actual working models of some of da Vinci's creations.  The girls went bonkers spinning around in the "tank."  They worked the water wheel and then found the playground.  Matt and I gave in and sat down to watch the girls play.  At first no one was there and then a group of middle school kids came storming in...we had a great time watching them play on...well, I don't know what to call it...it was a pole with four chains hanging down from the top and a wooden bar at the bottom of each one.  The kids would run around in a circle, holding the chains, count off, and then lift their feet off the ground and sail through the air.  It was hilarious because as soon as someone would let go, the rest would crash and fall into them...all the kids giggling like crazy.  Once the kids left...the big kids took a turn (me and Matt)...I sailed around twice...landed on my butt and was instantly wicked dizzy.  Ah to get old.  ;)
We had lunch at a restaurant on the grounds and really just enjoyed the whole day...the girls didn't want to leave.  Fun day for all!  


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