Etapa 9: los Châteaus del Valle del Loira

Después de disfrutar de París, de sus monumentos, sus edificios, de su río Sena y de sus palacios, teníamos que buscar en el camino de regreso a España algún emblemático lugar que inevitablemente estábamos obligados a visitar. Estaba claro que, si íbamos a entrar por la frontera catalana desde la Ciudad de La Luz, no íbamos a subir los Alpes para llegar después a la Costa Azul. Bajamos por lo tanto en busca de los Châteaus de Francia, y esos están en el Valle del Loira y en Blois.

Entre las ciudades de Orleans y Tours, comenzamos a ver palacios, castillos, castillazos y el inmenso Loira que da nombre al valle y a sus castillos, de obligada visita turística si quieres saber de qué manera tan descomunal y exagerada vivía la realeza, sus cortesanos y servidores. Aquello debió de ser de locos.

Blois es una ciudad medieval que, por su perfecta ubicación, a Juana de Arco le sirvió de base de operaciones ante la batalla de Orleans. Las casas que rodean el Château de Blois se levantan desde el río y defienden el palacio que mando construir Luis XII, en el que también los nazis hicieron barbaridades hasta que los americanos liberaron después de intensos bombardeos a los siempre sufridores vasallos de Blois.

Cruzar el Loira por su puente principal es ver Blois e imaginarse a sus nativos y los asedios que sufrieron mientras construían palacios o la Catedral de San Luis que se divisa majestuosa dominando todo el Valle del Loira. Desde allí poco a poco vimos más Châteaus y más ‘petit palacios’. A ambas orillas puedes encontrarte hasta dragones asomándose por las ventanas.

En cualquier recoveco del inmenso río puede sorprenderte un palacio o Castillo antes, dentro o después de gigantescos bosques que en aquellos siglos servían para que la corte no pasasen frío con su madera o no les faltase comida con la fauna que aún pude verse entre los árboles, por ejemplo, de Chambord.

Como dice la guía turística más importante, el Château du Chambord, compensa la visita por El Valle del Loira. Y, es verdad, porque es exageradamente impresionante; renacentista, mezclando formas tradicionales de la Edad Media con estructuras italianas que hace sospechar a los historiadores que Leonardo Da Vinci tuvo mucho que ver en su diseño. Se levantó el palacio porque al rey Francisco I no le gustaban las reformas que había realizado en el de Blois… qué cosas tenían los reyes de Francia, señor, qué cosas.

Tardaron 20 años (1919-1939) en construirlo y al rey, derrotado en una de sus guerras, cuando salió de la prisión en 1925 ya no le gustó vivir allí y se fue cerca de París. Abandonó Chambord y su Château, que ahora es Patrimonio de la humanidad. En cualquier caso, como dice @Una_De_50: “es muy bonito pero es una lata limpiar sus estancias…”

Desde allí y siguiendo el Loira son tantos los Castillos que te abruma tanta nobleza. torreones, patios, jardines, pabellones de caza, cuadras, ermitas, embarcaderos en el Loira para la realeza, cientos de chimeneas para calentar los palacios y retratos, miles de retratos de sus majestades, marqueses, condes y duques que en cada kilómetro del valle te recuerdan con sus carteles que puedes visitar el Château Cheverny, Valençay, Vendôme, Chenonceau, D’Usse o el de Lazenay…. ese, ese el Château de Lazenay fue nuestro palacio, donde dormimos en Bourges.

Otra ciudad medieval rodeada de castillos, palacios y presidida por una exagerada catedral de Saint-Étienne de estilo gótico que deslumbra por sus cinco pórticos de la gloria. Esta catedral es monumento histórico del patrimonio francés y está incluida en el Camino de Santiago.

Erigida en una plaza donde dicen que había un simple lugar de culto romano en la Galia, fue haciéndose más enorme según la iban construyendo porque les parecía que era más pequeña de lo normal. Quizás por eso aparenta y es exagerada con detalles renacentistas que ‘distraen’ su belleza. Hasta darla definitivamente por acabada, transcurrieron tres siglos y aún hoy siguen rematando la faena.

Del Valle del Loira hemos disfrutado de su río y de sus palacios pero especialmente del nuestro donde dormimos como… ¿Reyes? ¿Duques? ¿Condes? ¿Marqueses? Mejor como mochileros, tan agotados de tantos impresionantes Châteaus que caímos rendidos en el nuestro, que desde hoy ya no es de Lazenay sino el Château de la Maleta de Cano.

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