Good morning. Today is quartidi, the 24th of Brumaire, Year CCXXXI. We celebrate l'orange, the citrus fruit that conquered the world.
Usually, when we think of France fighting multiple wars with someone, it's England or Germany, but half a millennium ago, the French just couldn't stop invading Italy. Charles VIII "The Affable" was king, and he took a decidedly non-affable attitude toward Naples, which wasn't handing its throne to him the way daddy promised, so he went and conquered the entire Italian peninsula.
He came home to rest a bit in Amboise, a small market town southwest of Paris by about a day's ride on the banks of the Loire. It was a favorite haunt of the court in those days, and Charles had two affable chateaux there – the Château d'Amboise, where he lived, and the Château Gaillard, which he wanted to trick out to look just like the villas he had seen in Italy while passing by with his conquering army.
To do this, he brought the world's smartest monk back with him and commanded, "Grow me oranges." He also employed 22 Italian painters to decorate the place with Renaissance portraiture. Then, while walking from one room to another at Château d'Amboise, he hit his head on a doorway and died. He was 28.