Major events: 500th Anniversary of the French Renaissance

Château de Chambord
Château de Sully-sur-Loire
Tourraine - Val de Loire
Press release


Known as the playground of the Kings of France, and remembered as the cradle of the French Renaissance, the Loire Valley will shine even brighter in 2019. The region will be celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the French Renaissance, which coincides with the anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death in France. During the first year of Francois Ier’s reign in 1515, and following his victory at Marignano, the French King met Leonardo Da Vinci. Awed by the genius, and by Italy’s artistic and architectural renewal, France’s great Renaissance king invited the artist to live in France. In 1516 (with the Mona Lisa and 2 other masterpieces in tow), Leonardo left Rome for Royal Amboise, settling at the Château du Clos Lucé, where he spent the last three years of his life.

Architectural gems of that period include Chambord—started in 1519—the year of Da Vinci’s death, Azay-le-Rideau in 1518, Valençay in 1520, Chenonceau in 1514, the Francis I Wing at Blois in 1515, the Château of Clos Lucé. Since the year 2000, a huge portion of the Loire Valley has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site—a 200-mile stretch along the river, from Sully-sur-Loire to Chalonnes-sur-Loire.


For all events, check the webiste Viva Leonardo Da Vinci 2019.

Fluxshow2019: An Italian Year at the Fondation du Doute

From March - November 2019 at Fondation du Doute in Blois

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

From April 1 – November 3, 2019 at Château du Rivau

Illustration of the different facets of Leonardo da Vinci’s work (self-portraits, female portraits, extraordinary machines, drapery, anatomy, historical painting, codices and scenery) by thirty well-known contemporary artists.

Sound and Light Show at the Royal Chateau de Blois

From April 6 – September, 2019 at the Royal Chateau de Blois

As night falls, immersive special effects and monumental projections take over the magnificent architecture of the Royal Chateau de Blois.

“1519, The Death of Leonardo Da Vinci: The Construction of a Legend”

From May 2 - September 2 at Royal Château of Amboise

The major exhibition entitled, “The death of Leonardo da Vinci: the construction of a legend”, is devised around the immense painting (280cm × 357cm) “La mort de Léonard de Vinci” (The death of Leonardo da Vinci) by François-Guillaume Ménageot, and a collection of engravings from national collections. It will shed light on how the parameters of the friendship between king François Ier and Leonardo were progressively rewritten by history and how history assimilated them as the myth was created to serve the image of the French monarchy in the 18th century.

As part of the rich celebrations schedule for the 5th centenary, this major exhibition will also serve as a reminder for visitors from the four corners of the world of the eternal place that Leonardo da Vinci occupies in the Loire Valley, and especially in Amboise, where he will rest in peace for eternity in the château’s chapel.

"Chambord 1519-2019: From Utopian Idea To The Work”

From May 26 - September 1, 2019 at National Domain of Chambord

The Château of Chambord will be offering visitors an exceptional exhibition including a retrospective of nearly 150 works, manuscripts, drawings, tables, models and objects of art (including three of the original pages from the Codex Atlanticus by Leonardo da Vinci) to retrace the history of Chambord. Also presented will be 18 projects from architecture studios at the world’s top universities to relaunch, 500 years later on, the architectural utopia of Chambord.

“Tapestry of The Last Supper for Francis I by Leonardo Da Vinci: A Masterpiece in Silk and Silver”

From June 7 - September 8, 2019 at Château of Clos-Lucé

To mark the anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death at the Château du Clos Lucé on 2 May 1519, the tapestry of the Last Supper, a reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, will be presented for the first time outside of Vatican Museums and Italy. The tapestry was woven for Louise of Savoy and her son, the future King of France, Francis I, some time before 1514. In 1533, Francis I presented it as a gift to Pope Clement VII to celebrate the marriage between his son Henri II and the Pope’s niece, Catherine de Medici.

The Tapestries of Catherine de Medici’s Room

Opening June 15, 2019 at Château of Chenonceau

Opening to the public of Catherine de Medici’s Apothecary’s room, a place which had completely disappeared.

Azay and the new worlds, a new sound and light path at the castle

From June 29 - September 1, 2019 at Château of Azay-le-Rideau

A new sound and light course at the castle! Château d'Azay-le-Rideau will offer a new night stroll in the landscaped park, a veritable green setting for the monument. The public is invited to take a free stroll at nightfall, marked by wonderful worlds and monumental projections.

Renaissance Ball & Workshops

July 25, 2019 at Royal Château of Amboise

Visitors will be transformed back to the Renaissance with introductory workshops to Renaissance dance, followed by a grand Renaissance ball in period costume in the evening.

“Viva Leonardo Da Vinci, 500 Years of Renaissance in the Loire Valley”

From August 15 – September 15, 2019 at Bourges, Orléans, Blois, Tours, Chambord, Amboise, Châteauroux, Chartres

This travelling show offers a remarkable immersive and multi-disciplinary experience at the crossroads between art and technology. The video will be projected on water and several solid surfaces, evoking utopian Renaissance ideals and the innovative spirit of this historical movement. Leonardo’s work will be displayed through a dreamlike and poetical journey.

European Festival Of Renaissance Music, Jordi Savall

From September 27 – 29, 2019 at Château of Clos-Lucé

Renowned musician and conductor Jordi Savall will perform new music, accompanied by musicians from Le Concert des Nations, in Da Vinci’s last home. The concert will be held in the exhibition hall that has been fully restored and renovated by the chateau.

New Cultural Facility, “Leonardo Da Vinci, Painter and Architect”

Opening Autum 2019 at Château of Clos-Lucé

The Château du Clos Lucé is continuing its scientific exploration of Leonardo da Vinci's universe and is converting an old industrial building into a new, 500 m² cultural zone and museum open to visitors. Here the public will discover two major facets of Da Vinci's skills: painting and architecture.

Catherine de Medici’s Room

Through December 31, 2019 at Chaumont-Sur-Loire

All year round, visitors can discover Catherine de Médicis’ room, which has been completely refurbished thanks to new presentations of old tapestries.

HISTOPAD: Immersive Experience in the Renaissance with Augmented Reality

At Châteaux of Bois, Amboise, Chambord, Royal City of Loches, Royal Fortress of Chinon

For all events, check the webiste Viva Leonardo Da Vinci 2019.