Château de la Bourdaisière origins date back to the 14th century when it was a fortress belonging to Jean Meingre. Over the next few generations, the property changed hands several time, until 1520 when King Francis I arranged for construction of a new castle on the site. Built for his mistress, Marie Gaudin, the wife of Philibert Babou, Superintendent of Finances for France, after her death, the property would remain in the family's hands. Marie Gaudin's granddaughter, Gabrielle d'Estrées, was born in the château and would herself grow up to become mistress to another king, Henry IV of France.
In 1775, the château was partially destroyed by order of King Louis XV's most powerful Minister, Étienne François, Duc de Choiseul. Étienne François wanted to use the stones from Château de la Bourdaisière for the construction of his Pagoda at his estate in Chanteloup, near Amboise.
Lying in ruins, in 1786 the land was sold to Louise Adélaïde of Penthièvre Bourbon. In 1802 the property was acquired by Baron Joseph Angelier who undertook a massive reconstruction of Château Bourdaisière. The interior work would be completed by his son, Gustave Angelier. Although a small château, when compared to the great châteaux of the Kings and some of those built by other wealthy nobles, it is a magnificent Renaissance construction fronted by traditional French gardens.
During World War II, the château was occupied by the Nazis. After the war, a lack of funds by its owner saw it become severely run down. In 1959, its contents were auctioned off and government turned the château into a home for the elderly.
In 2003, Château de la Bourdaisière gained considerable attention in North America, as the primary site for the television show Joe Millionaire. In 2011, the chateaus gardens were finalist for the European Garden Award bestowed by the European Garden Heritage Network. The château was listed as a monument historique in 1947. Today it functions as a hotel.References:
The Cloth Hall in Kraków dates to the Renaissance and is one of the city's most recognizable icons. It is the central feature of the main market square in the Kraków Old Town (listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1978).
The hall was once a major centre of international trade. Traveling merchants met there to discuss business and to barter. During its golden age in the 15th century, the hall was the source of a variety of exotic imports from the east – spices, silk, leather and wax – while Kraków itself exported textiles, lead, and salt from the Wieliczka Salt Mine.
Kraków was Poland's capital city and was among the largest cities in Europe already from before the time of the Renaissance. However, its decline started with the move of the capital to Warsaw in the very end of the 16th century. The city's decline was hastened by wars and politics leading to the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. By the time of the architectural restoration proposed for the cloth hall in 1870 under Austrian rule, much of the historic city center was decrepit. A change in political and economic fortunes for the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria ushered in a revival due to newly established Legislative Assembly or Sejm of the Land. The successful renovation of the Cloth Hall, based on design by Tomasz Pryliński and supervised by Mayor Mikołaj Zyblikiewicz, Sejm Marshal, was one of the most notable achievements of this period.
The hall has hosted many distinguished guests over the centuries and is still used to entertain monarchs and dignitaries, such as Charles, Prince of Wales and Emperor Akihito of Japan, who was welcomed here in 2002. In the past, balls were held here, most notably after Prince Józef Poniatowski had briefly liberated the city from the Austrians in 1809. Aside from its history and cultural value, the hall still is still used as a center of commerce.
On the upper floor of the hall is the Sukiennice Museum division of the National Museum, Kraków. It holds the largest permanent exhibit of the 19th-century Polish painting and sculpture, in four grand exhibition halls arranged by historical period and the theme extending into an entire artistic epoch. The museum was upgraded in 2010 with new technical equipment, storerooms, service spaces as well as improved thematic layout for the display.
The Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art was a major cultural venue from the moment it opened on October 7, 1879. It features late Baroque, Rococo, and Classicist 18th-century portraits and battle scenes by Polish and foreign pre-Romantics.