This picture was taken in Chateau Chenonceau in the Chateaux de la Loire district.
The architect of the castle was Thomas Bohier. He was the General Controleur of Finances for Kings Charles VIII, Louis XII and François I.
The inscription reads "Me Souviendra". The motto of him and his wife, Katherine Briconnet, is "S'il vient a point, me souviendra" which means "If it is finished, they will remember me". That we do - Chenonceau is the most beautiful of all the Loire castles.
I rotated this a little, sharpened a little, and warmed it up in PS CS. However, what I was unable to do was restore the detail to the pillars without washing out the whole picture. The details are there in the original photo, but the scanner (LiDE 30) just doesn't seem to be able to handle the contrast variation. Can anyone help out? I will post the original as a WS.
More information on this beautiful castle is at http://www.chenonceau.com/