Azay le Rideau, dec 2007

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The château of Azay-le-Rideau was built from 1518 to 1527, one of the earliest French Renaissance châteaux. Built on an island in the Indre River, its foundations rise straight out of the water.

Gilles Berthelot began to build it under Francois I time. The originality of this castel i the central staircase, called Escalier d´honneur.

Over the centuries, it changed hands several times until the early part of the twentieth century, when it was purchased by the French government and restored. Today, the castel is open to public visits and surrounded by a nineteenth-century parklike English landscape garden.

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The sculptural details at Azay are particularly remarkable. On the ground floor, fluted pilasters on high bases support the salamander and the ermine, emblems of François I and Claude de France.

Honoré de Balzac called it “a facetted diamond set in the Indre.”  and for me, it’s even more than that.