July 21 in France

Today, we visited one of the largest chateau’s in the French countryside of the Loire valley.  Chambord.  The picture above is a relief  of a salamander.

Francis I took every opportunity to embellish the Château de Chambord with the letter  “F” and also with a stylized Salamander, his emblematic animal. Still today, you will see these F’s and salamanders around the castle, especially on the decorated vaults of the third floor. As the symbol of fire and cold, the salamander was François’ chosen symbol. This animal could live in the fire without being consumed, but it could also extinguish the fire due to the exceptional coldness of its body. In the medieval iconography the salamander represents &quot;the just who never loses God’s confidence in the middle of tribulations.&quot; Franç</span><span class=”style_4″>ois the First adapted this motto for himself: &quot;I live among it and extinguish it&quot;.  The Château was completed in 1547 and contains 440 rooms, 84 staircases, 365 fireplaces (one for each day of the year). It also has stables to accommodate 1200 horses. The domain is surrounded by 32 km of walls, protecting more than 12,000 acres of woods which is a huge hunting reserve whose surface equals that of

So that’s the story.  Besides the chateau, the other interesting thing that happened was getting lost.  Je’ suis perdu!!!  (translation, I’m lost).  We seem to specialize in this particular activity.  We made a wrong turn and it’s not to easy to right the wrong because the roads here are very narrow and there a few places to turn around…plus we thought we could find out way out without a map!!  Well, we did find out way out and we took a very interesting route.  We were the only car on the road…for miles!!   Do I have pictures?  No because we were already late in the day and wanted to get a few hours at the chateau.  Happy to report it all worked out!!

Incidentally, Francis was the first king of France and ruled in the late 1400’s, early 1500’s.  So, this place is old.  And enormous.  These guys had serious money.  And it was seen by Louis X1V who had to out do it by building Versailles!!!

Came home and made omelets for dinner.  With red wine, cheese and bread!!  C’est bon!!  And now we are planning tomorrow.  Our plan is to head for Normandy and visit the beaches, a war memorial museum or two and check in at a “small” chateau for two nights!!

Château de l’Isle-Marie is the place.  More later.

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