Renaissance enthusiasts will have numerous reasons to visit the Loire Valley this year as the region celebrates the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the French Renaissance. Special events will include the display of a historic tapestry of The Last Supper, a traveling digital show that reinterprets some of Leonardo da Vinci’s works and a range of other exhibitions and festivals celebrating the iconic era.
From June 6 to September 9 the estate where da Vinci died, the Château du Clos Lucé, will feature a tapestry interpretation of one of the artist’s most famous paintings: The Last Supper. Done in partnership with the Vatican Museums, the presentation will mark the first time since the 16th century that the piece will be displayed outside of the Vatican.
Starting August 15, the “Viva da Vinci, 500 Years of the Renaissance” digital show will begin a tour of France, stopping at Bourges, Orléans, Blois, Tours, Chambord, Amboise, Châteauroux and Chartres. The installation will involve the projection of some of da Vinci’s most famous works onto different surfaces to create a dreamlike effect. The traveling show will wrap up on September 15.
2019 brings the 500th anniversary of several Renaissance-related events, including the death of da Vinci, the birth of Catherine de Medici and the beginning of construction on the Château of Chambord. Other destinations marking the occasion include:
- Château de Chambord (June 28 – July 13) – The estate’s ninth annual Chambord Festival will focus on Italian performers this year in recognition of da Vinci.
- Regional Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire (through December 31) – The site will display a refurbished version of Catherine de Medici’s room.
- Château de Chenonceau (starting spring 2019) – the estate will open a restored version of Catherine de Medici’s apothecary.
- Château du Rivau (May 18) and Château Royal d'Amboise (July 25) – The two estates will host a Renaissance ball where guests are encouraged to dress in period costumes.
- Château du Rivau (April 1 - November 3, 2019) – The palace will display interpretations of da Vinci’s artwork as done by 30 contemporary artists.