A Taste of the Renaissance (“Goût de Renaissance”)
Inspired by the anniversary this year, 42 different restaurants throughout the Loire Valley are offering special menus and dishes inspired by the Renaissance in order to transport guests back to da Vinci’s time. Dishes include fried eggs with rosemary, lemon chicken fricassee, and poached pears in a red wine sauce. The Loire Valley region, in partnership with the European Institute of History and Food Cultures (IEHCA of Tours), has also published a book of 25 recipes and dishes from the period to help travelers understand French cuisine during the Renaissance. Find more information here.
Recipes from Catherine de Medici at Chateau de Chenonceau
Christophe Canati, the chef from Chateau de Chenonceau’s L’Orangerie restaurant, has created a number of dishes inspired by the French Renaissance period, some of which were inspired by Catherine de Medici, who resided in the chateau. Visitors will also have an opportunity to share their own ideas for recipes inspired by their visit to the chateau. Dishes include artichoke beignets, crispy sweetbreads, carp stuffed with bacon, and a lemon and violet tart. The book of recipes can be purchased here. Visitors to Chenonceau can also visit Catherine de Medici’s recreated apothecary in honor of the anniversary.
Renaissance Reenactments on the Ile d’Or
On September 28 and 29, the Ile d’Or (an island in the Loire River) in Amboise will be transported back to the Renaissance, bringing together 500 volunteers who will reenact history, acting as medieval warriors in infantry units or soldiers bivouacking on the island. Visitors will be able to get a glimpse of daily life during the Renaissance period, while also experiencing a local crafts and gourmet food market. Find more information here.
Gifts from the Renaissance
As part of the Loire Valley’s celebrations, a number of special local gifts inspired by the time period are being produced around the region, including a collection of “historical perfumes” from Nicolas de Barry, who has recreated a line of perfumes and cosmetics used during the Renaissance period. His creations include pomanders, jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets and belts, which are scented with perfume. Another gift from the past is a signature bottle of wine created by the Chateau du Clos-Lucé, produced using the grape varieties of Chenin and Côt, which date back to the time of Leonardo da Vinci.
EXPERIENCING THE LOCAL WINE REGIONS
Travelers can try the Loire Valley’s famous Sancerre wine at Maison des Sancerre, an ideal spot to sample top local wines of the region. Travelers can also stop by a local farm to pair the wine with Chavignol, one of the five goat cheese appellations from the region.
Valençay is the name for both a goat cheese (which is lightly salted and coated in ash) and wine from the region. Travelers in the area can also stop by the Chateau De Valençay, which is hosting a series of evening candle-lit jazz concerts throughout August.
Between Touraine and Orléans
Top wine produced in this area includes Chinon, Vouvray, Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil, Bourgueil, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Cheverny, Cour-Cheverny, Valençay, Orléans, Orléans-Cléry and Coteaux du Giennois. Unique experiences for travelers include a Wine Escape Game at Domain PB Couly, relaxation workshops held right in the vineyards of Ame Wine in Touraine, and a multimedia art exhibit held in the historic wine cellars Caves Monmousseau, creating incredible projections onto the cave from pictorial stained glass techniques that retrace the history and origins of the cellar.
Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny
Located in Cour-Cheverny, The Domaine des Huards has been making wine since 1846, and today only produces organic and biodynamic wine. The winemakers produce wine made from 100% Romorantin grapes, which is a grape that dates back to the Renaissance period. Travelers to this area can also sample local wines at the Maison de Vins de Chevernylocated by the entrance to the Chateau du Cheverny, and at the Maison de Vins de Chambord, located on the Chambord Estate.
“Message in a Bottle” Exhibit in Bourges (until November 24)
As 2019 is also the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People, the Bourges Natural History Museum invites visitors to question our impact on climate change by comparing the climate of the 16th century (early Ice Age) with the 22nd century. Find more information here.
Fluxshow2019: An Italian Year at the Fondation du Doute (until November 2019)
This exhibition of “spectacular artistic machines” by Nam June Paik and Wolf Vostell offers a comparative presentation of works by French and Italian artists, including the creation of a wheeled machine from one ton of waste technology products.
A Contemporary Homage to Leonardo da Vinci (until November 3, 2019)
This exhibit will present the many facets of Leonardo da Vinci’s work as seen through thirty well-known contemporary artists. They will focus on his self-portraits, portraits of women, extraordinary machines, drapery, anatomy, historical painting, codices and scenery. Chateau du Rivau is a medieval castle owned by a French family, who transformed the massive grounds into fairytale-inspired gardens, with incredible grand artworks displayed throughout; in September 2018, they unveiled seven guest rooms in the castle’s former stables.