Treasures of the Garden of France
In this garden of France the capricious, sometimes fanciful Loire spreads out and languidly,
In the days of the sailing navy, barges and barrels ensured traffic in its bed,
Between plains, hillsides, groves, and valleys with gargantuan legends,
Land of arts and letters, kings made it their residence during the Montaigne Renaissance.
You beautiful city which did honor to the Namnetes, powerful capital of Brittany in distrust,
You, sweet Breton city which in 1491 brought Anne to the throne of Queen of France,
Painful city for so many men but a story of peace through your edict of King Henry IV,
Nantes, formerly the Little Venice of the West, a city of stone which was once made of wood.
Guarded by two stone sphinxes, Chenonceau, white footbridge placed over the Cher,
Elegant, romantic, it embodies the feminine seduction between Catherine and Diane, the lady of the flesh,
Its fireplace decorated with salamanders and ermines recalls Renaissance chandeliers,
Just like the four-poster beds, marquetry tables and magnificent tapestries.
Perched on its promontory, overlooking the Loire houses, Amboise was the seat of the aristocracy,
It tells the story of a friendship full of admiration, between Charles VIII, an ambitious young king,
And a great genius of the Renaissance, inventor until his last breath, Leonardo da Vinci,
This famous Tuscan designer having created his avant-garde sketches at the graceful Clos Lucé.
Land of arts and letters, the kings made it the garden of France during the Renaissance,
Majestic silhouette, for 500 years Chambord has declined its architectural utopia of elegance,
François I will make it the decor of his itinerant court, “the ford on the curve” on the port side,
For its madness of grandeur, a phantasmagoria of stone in its lace of pinnacles and gold.
This “palace of fairies and knights” according to Victor Hugo, has its jewel in the center of the dungeon,
Composed of helical ramps and surrounded by its glass roof, rises the double revolution staircase,
Subtle marriage between the medieval spiral staircase and the straight Italian banisters,
The castle turns on itself before flying towards the Pompeian lantern tower.
Favorite residence of seven kings and ten queens, this palace immerses you in history at will,
Blois, capital under François II, reveals its brick facade and lustrous white stone chaining,
Its monumental spiral staircase opens onto the castle courtyard through large bay windows,
The king's bedroom and its immense Italian bed recall the assassination of the Duke of Guise.
Château full of grace with its tuffeau façade marked with pilastered dormer windows,
The elegant setting of Azay le Rideau seduced Balzac who, taking the time to admire it, wrote,
“A faceted cut diamond, mounted on stilts masked with flowers, set by the Indre”,
Its English-style park offers a romantic stroll under its redwoods and cypresses straight towards the stars.
Right against the Chinon forest, the spooky turrets of the Château d’Ussé,
The storyteller Charles Perrault will make it the castle of Sleeping Beauty, all inspired,
And still on the road to the valley of the kings, with its medieval style, Saumur,
Fortress, palace then prison will become a museum surrounded by vines with beautiful branches.
After the castles lost their defensive roles between high walls and dungeons,
The parks will be delivered to horticultural artists where, the reflection of a lost Eden, they will seek,
An earthly paradise decorated with groves, topiaries, fountains and gazebos for enjoyment,
The gardens of Villandry having restored, on three levels, its authenticity to the Renaissance.
In this land of good drinking and gargantuan good eating,
Rabelais, the thunderous writer rooted his epic with this fresco,
“Jump, dance, drink white and red wine,
Doing nothing every day, just counting your coins in the sun.”
Guy says l’Arié…..Joie