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Loire. The Land of Castles
François I. 1530
The Château of Azay-le-Rideau,
was built on an island in the river Indre.
It was in 1510 that this old medieval fortification was bought by a man called Gilles Berthelot. He was an advisor to King Louis XII and treasurer of France. This new acquisition gave him a new social position that enabled him to become a man of lineage. He soon transformed the fortress into a real palace, worthy of a member of the nobility.
The son of an official of the Chamber of Accounts, he made a career following in his father's footsteps. In a very short time he became an extremely rich man, a fact that aroused suspicion within the Crown. I immediately ordered an investigation which revealed that a group of financiers, including Berthelot, were stealing money from the Crown...
Paralysed by the fear of being punished by execution, Berthelot decided to leave the castle and his wife and fled. At that point, I took possession of the castle and offered it to a trusted person, which the fugitive's wife did not like. The castle was something that it would be euphemistic to describe as stunning:
it represented a fusion of French and Italian styles, while the luxurious rooms and beautiful gardens were magnificent things that Berthelot had far too little time to appreciate...
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