One of the Loire's earliest Renaissance chateaux, Azay le Rideau,
located about 150 miles southwest of Paris in the Loire Valley,
was built in the 16th century.
And like Chenonceau and Cheverny, it was created by a woman.
Gilles Berthelot, a financier under Louis XII and Francois I,
left the details of construction to Madame Berthelot.
When Gilles was accused of embezzlement, he left the area
(fleeing to Lorraine) where he died a few years later.
Francois I confiscated the chateau
(from Madame Berthelot) and gave it to one of his officers
as a token of his appreciation.
The story reminds me of Vaux le Vicomte,
a similar story of a finance minister to a King creating something too beautiful.
That story inspired the building of Versaille
(after the imprisonment of the finance minister and confiscation of his property,
architect, painter and gardener).
Moral: Never one-up a King!
(Photographs copyright: Kirsten Steen)