Beaugency,Loire Valley


Beaugency is a commune in the Loiret department in north-central France. It is located on the Loire river, upriver (northeast) from Blois and downriver from Orléans.




The lords of Beaugency attained considerable importance in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries; at the end of the 13th century they sold the fiefdom to the Crown. Afterward it passed to the house of Orléans, then to those of Dunois and Longueville, and ultimately again to that of Orléans.

The city of Beaugency has been the site of numerous military conflicts. It was occupied on four separate occasions by the English. On June 16–17, 1429, it was the site of the famous Battle of Beaugency, when it was freed by Joan of Arc. Beaugency also played an important strategic role in the Hundred Years’ War. It was burned by the Protestants in 1567 and suffered extensive damage to the walls, the castle, and the church.

On the 8th, 9th and 10th of December 1870, the Prussian army, commanded by the grand-duke of Mecklenburg, defeated the French army of the Loire, under General Chanzy, in the second battle of Beaugency (or Villorceau-Josnes). It was fought on the right bank of the Loire to the northwest of Beaugency.

In 1940 and again in 1944, the city was bombed by Nazi Germany. On 16 September 1944, German Major General Botho Henning Elster and his 18 850 men and 754 officers surrendered at the Loire bridge of Beaugency to French résistance.









Chateau de Talcy

The Château de Talcy is a historical building in Talcy, Loir-et-Cher, France. It lies on the left bank of the Loire River, in the Loire Valley, known for its 16th-century châteaux. It was commissioned around 1520 by Bernardo Salviati, a Florentine condottiero and cardinal with connections to the Medici family. The château, which is embedded in the village to one side, where the village church forms one side of the courtyard, is more Gothic in its vernacular feeling than might be expected in a structure built for an Italian patron at the height of the Renaissance.


The estate is better known in literary rather than architectural history. Salviati’s daughter and granddaughter, Cassandre and Diane, were the muses of two leading French poets of the time, Pierre de Ronsard and Théodore-Agrippa d’Aubigné, respectively. Ronsard fell in love with the 15-year-old Cassandre in 1552, during his stay at Talcy. He dedicated to her some of the best known sonnets in the French language. D’Aubigné, a neighbour of the Salviati, composed for Diane in 1571 the collection of sonnets, ballads, and idylls entitled Le Printemps and at her death the finest of his poems, Les Tragiques.


Among the outbuildings preserved from the 16th century are a presshouse and a dovecot; there is also a traditional vegetable garden. In the château is the “chambre de la Médicis” where Catherine de’ Medici and her son Charles IX are said to have planned the Massacre of Saint


The Salviati retained the ownership of the estate until 1682. Henceforth it passed through a succession of owners, including Philipp Albert Stapfer. In 1933 it was sold to the state, on condition that the 18th-century interiors would be preserved intact. The château is visited by 20,000 tourists annually.





















The Chateaux of the Loire.Amboise Chateaux


Located half way between Orléans and Tours, the little city of Amboise has played a great part in French history, particularly during the Renaissance era. The magnificent castle of Amboise is one of the many chateaux bordering the Loire river, all listed in the UNESCO World Heritage including Chambord, Chenonceau or Azay-le-Rideau.


The chateau was built on the foundations of an old fortress, its position perched high on a promontory over looking the Loire, offering a solid defence against any intruders. The chateau was seized by Charles VII in the mid 1400’s after its owner, Louise d’Amboise was involved in a plot against the monarchy. He was later to be pardoned but the chateau remained in the hands of the king.


Birthplace of the French Renaissance, the Château d’Amboise, built in the 15th and 16th centuries for the kings Charles VIII, Louis XII and François I, towers majestically over the Loire River and the slate roofs of the houses in the old town of Amboise. The royal residence is home to a prestigious collection of Gothic and Renaissance furniture. Highlights of the castle tour are the Salle du Conseil, the Salle des Tambourineurs (drummers’ hall) and the Empire apartments. After exploring the interior, visitors should head for the gardens and terrace, which offer a fantastic view of the Loire Valley. Built onto the ramparts is Saint-Hubert chapel, a magnificent example of Flamboyant Gothic art that contains the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci.















Aosta Valley

Aosta Valley
The heart of the Alps
Bordered by France and Switzerland, surrounded by the highest peaks in the Alps. Italy’s Aosta Valley is a region of spectacular scenery, world-class skiing and snowboarding, food of the highest quality and a history stretching back to Roman times. Discover this fascinating region this winter.








Courmayeur,La Palud

Courmayeur is an Italian town and comune in the autonomous region of Aosta Valley, in northern Italy. It is located at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in western Europe, in the Graian Alps range, and is crossed by the Dora Baltea. Courmayeur shares administration of Mont Blanc with its neighboring commune of Saint-Gervais-les-Bains in France, and is consequently able to claim the title of highest commune in Italy, although as the summit lies within the commune of Saint Gervais, it is the only French town that can claim to be the Top of Europe. Courmayeur also shares access to the famous glacial ski run of the Vallee Blanche with a French town, but in this case with Chamonix which sits at the other side of the peak known as the Aiguille du Midi.











Mont Blanc

Fast Facts:

Mont Blanc (French) and Monte Bianco (Italian) means “White Mountain” for its perpetual snowfields and glaciers.
Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps and in western Europe. The highest mountain in Europe is considered by most geographers to be 18,510-foot (5,642 meter) Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia near the Georgian border. Some consider it, however, to be in Asia rather than Europe.
The height of Mont Blanc varies from year to year depending on the depth of the summit’s snow cap, so no permanent elevation can be assigned to the mountain. The official elevation was once 15,770 feet (4,807 meters) but in 2002 it was resurveyed with modern technology at 15,782 feet (4,810 meters) or twelve feet higher. A 2005 survey measured it at 15,776 feet 9 inches (4,808.75 meters).
Mont Blanc’s rock summit, under snow and ice, is 15,720 feet (4,792 meters) and about 140 feet away from the snowcapped summit.
The first recorded climb of Mont Blanc was by Jacque Balmat and Michel Paccard on August 8, 1786. Climbing historians often consider this ascent the beginning of modern mountaineering.
In 1808 Marie Paradis became the first woman to reach the summit.
Over 20,000 climbers reach Mont Blanc’s summit every year.
The Voie des Cristalliers or Voie Royale is the most popular climbing route up Mont Blanc. To start, climbers take the Tramway du Mont Blanc to the Nid d’Aigle, then climb slopes to Goûter hut and spend the night. The next day they climb the Dôme du Goûter to L’arrête des Bosses and the summit. The route is somewhat perilous with danger from rockfall and avalanche. It is also very crowded in summit, particularly the summit ridge.
In 1990, Swiss climber Pierre-André Gobet climbed Mont Blanc round-trip from Chamonix in 5 hours, 10 minutes, and 14 seconds.
A scientific observatory was built atop Mont Blanc in 1892. It was used until 1909 when a crevasse opened under the building and it was abandoned.
In January 189, the observatory registered Mont Blanc’s lowest recorded temperature— -45.4°F or -43°C.
Two Air India planes, while approaching the Geneva airport, crashed on Mont Blanc. On November 3, 1950, the Malabar Princess plane began its descent to Geneva, but crashed into Rochers de la Tournette (4677 meters) on Mont Blanc, killing 48 passengers and crew. On January 24, 1966, the Kanchenjunga, a Boeing 707, also descending into Geneva, crashed on Mont Blanc’s southwest flank about 1,500 feet below the summit, killing 106 passengers and 11 crew members. Mountain guide Gerard Devoussoux, first on the scene, reported, “Another 15 meters and the plane would have missed the rock. It made a huge crater in the mountain. Everything was completely pulverized. Nothing was identifiable except for a few letters and packets.” Some monkeys, being transported in the cargo hold for medical experiments, survived the crash and were found wandering in the snow. Even today, bits of wire and metal from the planes are disgorged from Bossons Glacier below the wreckage sites.
In 1960, Henri Giraud landed an airplane on the 100-foot-long summit.
In 2007, two portable toilets were carried by helicopter and placed at 14,000 feet (4,260 meters) below Mont Blanc’s summit to serve climbers and skiers and keep human waste from polluting the mountain’s lower slopes.
On September 13, 2007 a Jacuzzi party was thrown atop Mont Blanc. The portable hot tub was carried by 20 people to the summit. Each person carried 45 pounds of custom-made equipment made to function in cold air and high altitude.
Seven French paragliders landed on Mont Blanc’s summit on August 13, 2003. The pilots, soaring on hot summer air currents, reached heights of 17,000 feet before landing.
The 11.6-kilometer-long (7.25-mile) Mont Blanc Tunnel travels beneath Mont Blanc, linking France and Italy. It was built between 1957 and 1965.
The famed British romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) visited Chamonix in July 1816 and was inspired by the great mountain looming above the town to write his meditative poem Mont Blanc: Lines Written in the Vale of Chamouni. Calling the snowy peak “remote, serene, and inaccessible,” he ends the poem:
“And what were thou, and earth, and stars, and sea,
if to the human mind’s imaginings
Silence and solitude were vacancy?”