Today, we did Chaumont-sur-Loire. Built between 1466 and 1510. That's nearly 50 years for a project. You have to let that go through your brain a little to realize how long that really is. Wouldn't work today of course but when you think about the tools they had then, I think they did pretty well to finish it in just under 50 years.
In the above map you can see the location of Blois in relation to Chaumont, Chambord and Cheverny; 3 impressive chateaus that must be visited if in the area.
The chateau dates back to the 10th century and was extended over time. It's rich history is too much to write here but suffice to say, it really is an impressive bit of architecture. It's defensive walls have never been tested and it has been restored to nearly pristine condition over the years.
Catherine de Medici is involved with this chateau again (she seemed to be everywhere), she actually bought the chateau for Diane de Poitiers (who was the mistress of Catherine's husband Henry II). Catherine must have had a bad conscience having thrown Diane out of Chenonceau after taking possession of it herself.
An impressive chateau with thick, high walls that would have stood a siege for some time. Actually they are massive round turrets which are the biggest I have ever seen. There's only one way in as the rear sits on a precipice that could not have been scaled in the middle ages. It actually still has a draw bridge that is in working order today and used on a daily basis.
We changed tactics today as I wanted the chateau to be pretty empty when I did my visit. We got there really early, before the chateau was even open, and were second to get inside. It proved to be a splendid idea as we could do the rounds in relative peace and quiet to actually study the objects on display. We visited the extensive gardens after the chateau but never got around to doing it all. The extensive gardens had miltiple exhibitions on display. It took us 4.5 hours to do what we did. Well worth it, even thought the entry fee is quite high.
A view from the chateau over the river Loire. As you can see it's pretty wide but relatively shallow.
Could you tell this was taken by the Panasonic TZ101 with its 1" sensor? I couldn't.
Olympus E-M1 - Olympus 12-100 f4 Pro
These cypress trees were to be found at every chateau we visited. To grow that big they have to be a couple of hundred years old, or even older. Aparently they are now becoming scarce throughout Europe. Just beautiful trees.
Just look at the size of those towers. Most impressive.
The draw bridge. Lowered every morning and raised when the last tourist leaves the chateau.
This is actually an image of a small portion of a wall that was decorated with hundreds of small tiles, each depicting another flower.
Olympus E-M5 II - Panasonic 7-14 f4
The wife astounded by the work that must have gone into this art exhibit inside the pidgeop coup that used to house thousands of them.
Can you tell the difference between this image and the one taken with the E-M1 above? You really souldn't be able to; not at this size anyway.
A slightly different viewpoint from the previous image.
Part of the exhibition being displayed at the time. The artist must have spent months constructing this sculpture here in the barn as it also snakes up the stairs to the floor above. It comprises of thousands of little pieces of wood which had to be put together inside the barn.
We got back to Blois at around three in the afternoon and decided to do the chateau in Blois. We'd been staying there for nearly a week and hadn't really got around to it. This was the perfect time. Blois is also a Royal Palace and spans four periods, from Gothic to late Gothic, through the Renaissance to the Classic style, spanning nearly 5 centuries from the 1200s to the middle of the 17th century. That's a lot of history.
Having just got back from carrying my camera bag for over 7 full hours, I decided to give my shoulder a little break and I only took the E-M5 II with the 7-14 f4 mounted and the GX7 with the tiny Panasonic 12-32 f3.5-5.6. All this is a small camera bag with a spare SD card and a couple of spare batteries. Weighed next to nothing. It proved to be an excellent choice for this chateau. The E-M5 II saw a lot of use and a 32GB SD card was nearly full at the end of the visit. You really don't notice the GX7 with the 12-32 f3.5-5.6 mounted. It takes up very little space and weighs nearly nothing. I only managed a couple of shots today with the Panasonic TZ101, so very little, actually nothing, to say about that little camera.
I don't normally chimp but on occasions such as this you have to be certain that you have the shot you were going for. From what I saw on the display images were looking good. I don't delete any images from the SD cards while I'm out shooting. I don't trust the display that much. Another point here is what you actually see on the display is just the imbedded small jpg file. I always, always shoot in raw format. Always have, always will. I wait until I get home, download all the images and keep the SD cards safe until I'm finished with post processing the images. You never know what might happen. Only then does the SD cards get formatted (in camera of course).
And now for some Chateau Blois images.
Panasonic GX7 - Panasonic 12-32 f3.5-5.6
Louis XII at the entrance to Chateau Blois. He actually rebuilt this part of the chateau after returning to France after being held hostage for 25 years in England.
This staircase, built by Francis I is quite famous. It reminds one of those at Chambord.
Back at our usual drinking hole.
Olympus E-M5 II - Panasonic 7-14 f4
Magnificent audience hall.
Fantastic restored rooms.
Love the camera.
The inner court.