In the Loire Valley, 2019 is all about the Renaissance. Exhibitions, shows, and tours... The region’s chateaus and other monuments are taking visitors back to the very heart of this period of cultural and artistic renewal. Here, France.fr brings you the events you can’t afford to miss.
In 2019, the Loire Valley is celebrating 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci’s death, the first stone was laid for Chambord Chateau, and the birth of Catherine de Medici. It is a chance to relive this period of flourishing arts and culture through a rich and varied programme of events.
The festivities kick off at the Chateau du Clos Lucé, the Italian genius’ last residence. From June to September, visitors can enjoy an exhibition entitled “Leonardo da Vinci, his students, the Last Supper, and François I”. A tapestry of the Last Supper, copied from Leonardo da Vinci’s mural, is being shipped over for the exhibition from the Vatican. Throughout the summer, the Clos Lucé will also be brought to life through a series of evening events based on the gastronomy and great discoveries of the Renaissance.
Leonardo da Vinci’s heritage
Not far away at Amboise Chateau, the centrepiece of exhibition entitled “1519, Death of Leonardo da Vinci: building a legend” is F.G Ménageot’s painting, “Death of Leonardo da Vinci”, and a collection of engravings. Running from May to August, the event also takes a contemporary point of view, with five canvases depicting details of the painting being made by the Italian graffiti artists, RAVO.
The Italian genius’ heritage will also be the centre of an exhibition entitled “Inspiration from life, from Leonardo da Vinci to today” at Sologne museum in Romorantin-Lanthenay (summer 2019), as well as at the Fondation du Doute, in Blois, where young French and Italian artists will work together to build a machine on wheels using leftover technology.
At Chambord Chateau, past meets future with “Chambord 1519-2019: from utopia to reality”, an exhibition running from May to September. It looks back at the chateau’s history and its virtual transformation into a 21st century utopia by international architects. From 28 June to 13 July, the 2019 edition of the Chambord Festival will also celebrate the chateau’s 500th anniversary.
Catherine de Medici will also be celebrated, notably in an exhibition entitled “The Queen’s tapestries", at Chaumont-sur-Loire Chateau (September to December), and visitors will be able to become totally immersed in the queen’s very own world. Curious visitors can also discover a restored version of her apothecary house at Chenonceau Chateau.
A range of events will shine the spotlight on how people lived in Renaissance times. One such exhibition is the “Children of the Renaissance” at the Royal Chateau of Blois, and another is “Renaissance Living” at Châteaudun Chateau, both running May to September. In Bourges, the “Artisan Curiosity Shop" will teach visitors about Renaissance crafts, while it’s botanists who will be feted at Grandes Bruyères Arboretum, in Orleans Forest. Last but not least, at Noirlac Abbey, visitors can enjoy an “Augmented Concert”: an immersive and augmented listening experience that lets you listen to concerts from the conductor’s pulpit, from the audience, or outdoors.
From May to October, Valençay Chateau will celebrate its own renaissance through a series of events: exclusive tours of the restored framework, the Talleyrand and his Ancient Instruments Festival, as well as the Chandelles de la Renaissance, an event that will see the chateau and its gardens glow by candlelight. Just like Villandry Chateau during the Nuits de Mille Feux. Azay-le-Rideau Chateau will also be blazing all summer, with a light and sound show about the Renaissance.
There’s something for kids, too, with Doulce Mémoire in Tours, and La Rêveuse, a Baroque music ensemble, on tour with Opéra-Bus.
This year of celebration will be topped off with a series of touring events. Leonardo da Vinci’s flying machine, the “Aerial Screw", will be brought back to life and feel right at home at the Collégiale Saint-Pierre Le Puellier in Orleans, before setting off on a tour of the region. Orleans, but also Bourges, Blois, Amboise, Chambord and Tours will also host the Renaissance(S) digital show from 15 August to 15 September. An immersive experience guaranteed!