15 ways to celebrate 500 years of French Renaissance in the Loire  

Written by on May 7, 2019 in Holidays & Things to do

Facade of the Chateau of Chambord, 5 storeys high with a roof full of pointy towers

The Loire rolls out the red carpet in 2019 to celebrate 500 years of the French Renaissance and the death of Leonardo da Vinci. With an incredible programme of more than 500 events, here are 15 you really shouldn’t miss. Full details of all events can be found in the website link at the bottom.

Chateau of Azay-Le-Rideau: Fairy tale days and nights

“The enchantments of Azay” designed by artists Piets’O and Peter Keene. The dreamlike installations, miniature automatons and whirling animated figures in Renaissance costumes bring the fairy tale Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau to life. Throughout July and August, take a nocturnal stroll in the landscaped gardens of the castle, entry is free and it really is a most unique and fabulous experience. From April 2, 2018 to December 31, 2019.

Chateau du Rivau: Contemporary art exhibition and costume ball

The Château du Rivau will honour Leonardo da Vinci with an exhibition of contemporary art focused on his work – from a self-portrait, extraordinary machines, anatomy etc. On May 18th, attend a Renaissance costume ball – we guarantee there’s no other party night quite like this! April 1 to November 3, 2019.

Bourges: Hotel Lallemant

In the lovely city of Bourges, the Hotel Lallemant, a grand Renaissance house built around 1500, with exceptional architectural feature, now a museum, will host a new exhibition dedicated to the Renaissance. April 3 to December 31, 2019.

Royal Chateau of Blois: Son et Lumière

The spectacular sound & light show on the facade of the royal castle of Blois is extraordinary. Immersive special effects, monumental projections, remixed music, the grandiose architecture of the royal castle of Blois is the perfect backdrop to learn about the dramatic events that took place here over centuries and affected the course of history in France. From April 6 to September 29.

Orléans: Son et Lumière

Throughout the summer the majestic cathedral Sainte-Croix d’Orléans will be animated with a new son et lumiere: “The lights of the Renaissance “directed by students from the Gobelins school of image. From April 20 to September 14, 2019. Read our guide to Orleans in the free ezine The Good Life France Magazine

Chaumont-sur-Loire: Garden Festival

Proving that the Renaissance is never ending, the 28th International Garden Festival takes place at the Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire. Revitalising the art of gardens, innovative approaches make this an outstanding visit in the grounds of a Renaissance chateau. April 25 to 3 November 2019.

Chateau du Clos Lucé: Exhibition of the Last Supper tapestry

The Clos Lucé castle will exhibit a tapestry featuring the theme of the Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. This ancient “copy” woven in Flanders and offered by King Francis I to Pope Clement VII is currently on display at the Pinacoteca in the Vatican in Rome. For the first time, the tapestry will leave the Vatican to be exhibited at the Clos Lucé castle as part of a large temporary exhibition and a new museum dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. A monumental work 4.90 m high and 9.15 m long, embroidered with gold thread. From June 6 to September 2, 2019.

Chateau de Chenonceau: Opening of the Queen’s Apothecary

To celebrate “500 years of Renaissance in the Loire Valley”, the Chateau de Chenonceau will open Catherine de Medici’s Apothecary to the public. The queen liked to spend time with scientists and Nostradamus, her herbalist, in this room. June 15.

Château de Chambord: Horse riding display

Château de Chambord will host an exceptional show bringing together 500 horses and riders. Dressed in period costumes, riders from the renowned Black Frame of Saumur and the Republican Guard will recreate scenes from 500 years ago. June 30, 2019.

Chateau de Cheverny: Renaissance Lego Exhibition

One for all the family as thousands and thousands of lego bricks form the rooms of a Renaissance castle – complete with furniture and paintings! July 5 and 6, August 2 and 3 2019. July 1 to December 31, 2019.

Chateau de Villandry: Candlelit nights

At dusk, the exquisite gardens of Villandry will be lit by 2000 candles. Fireworks, animations, costumed walks. Booking in advance is highly recommended. 5-6 July, 2-3 August.

Chateau d’Amboise: “Royal Days”

The royal castle of Amboise will host fencing demonstrations, ancient games, Renaissance fashion and costumes, court dances and calligraphy workshops. July 20 and 21, 2019.

Chinon: Renaissance Day

Historical reconstruction with shows, animations, cookery demonstrations and tastings of Renaissance dishes, dancing and music. 21 July 2019.

Chateau d’Amboise: “Music at the time of the kings”

Enjoy the sound of the Renaissance music of Italy in the courtyard of the royal castle of Amboise, at dusk. August 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18, 2019.

Orléans: Great Renaissance parade, Loire Festival

The Festival de Loire sees the biggest gathering of French navy vessels and ends with a great parade on the River Loire. This year’s event will feature an exhibition on the history of river navigation and the life of sailors in the 16th century. From September 18 to 22, 2019.

To find all events and search by month to discover what’s on and where,  head to the vivadavinci2019 website: www.vivadavinci2019.fr/

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