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Make sure to add Amboise to your Loire Valley itinerary. Nestled in the heart of the Loire Valley, the town of Amboise has two stunning chateaus, cobblestone streets, and an idyllic setting along the Loire River. Give yourself ample time to visit both the Château d’Amboise, formally known as the Château Royal d’Amboise, the Château du Clos Lucé, to amble through the town, and to enjoy the spectacular views over the Loire River.
Things To See In Amboise France
1. Wander The Town Of Amboise In The Loire Valley
Wandering through ancient medieval towns is one of the highlights of any trip to France and the Loire Valley is no exception. Stroll along the cobbled lanes in Amboise catching a glimpse of the Château Royal d’Amboise watching over and protecting its town. Stop at a French café or an artisanal boutique to truly experience.
The Clock Tower of Amboise, a historical monument since 1933, stands tall in the heart of the town. Built in the 15th century by Charles VIII, it serves as a constant reminder of the town’s rich history and cultural heritage. In fact, it was built over a gate or door to the town (la Porte d’Amasse)
Don’t miss the Pagode de Chanteloup (the Pagoda of Chanteloup), a unique and unusual attraction in Amboise. It is a Chinese-style pagoda that was built in the 18th century and stands 44 meters tall. Climb to the top for a stunning view of the surrounding countryside.
2. The Château d’Amboise History
Any visit to Amboise is sure to include a visit to the Château Royal d’Amboise. Here is a little history of this Loire Valley Castle.
The Chateau d’Amboise was first built in the 11th century as a fortress, although there were settlements here as far back as the Romans.
The Chateau d’Amboise was privately owned by Lord Louis d’Amboise a French nobleman, military leader, and close advisor to King Charles VII. In 1431, he was accused of plotting against the King, sentenced to death, and the castle was taken from him. These allegations were later overturned but nevertheless, the Chateau d’Amboise remained with the French royals.
Thus, the Chateau d’Amboise became a royal residence in the 15th and 16th centuries. King Charles VIII was born in the Château in 1470 and later made significant renovations to the castle.
The Château continued to play an important role in French history, particularly during the reign of King Francis I, who made extensive renovations and added new wings to the building. It was during Francis I’s reign that Leonardo da Vinci, who had been invited to France by the king, lived in the nearby Chateau du Clos Lucé.
The Chateau d’Amboise was also the site of several significant events, including the trial and execution of Huguenot leader, Philippe Duplessis-Mornay, in 1621, and the signing of the Edict of Amboise in 1563, which granted limited religious toleration to French Protestants.
3. What To See At The Chateau d’Amboise?
The Château d’Amboise exudes a sense of history and grandeur. From the imposing towers and ramparts to the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Explore the castle’s many rooms, including the apartments of Charles VIII and Francis I. I love the pink walls in the study and the music room. The furniture, paintings, and tapestries add to the experience of stepping back in time and wandering through a royal residence.
4. The Death Of Leonardo da Vinci
Hanging in the bedchamber of King François 1er is the grand painting of “The Death of Leonardo da Vinci” painted by François-Guillaume Ménageot. Although François 1er was not in fact at da Vinvi’s deathbed, the painting portrays the close relationship between the King and the painter.
5. Stroll The Ramparts
A place you can surely linger at the Chateau d’Amboise is on the ramparts. With spectacular views over the Loire River, the town, and the super viewpoints of the castle itself, the ramparts are a highlight of any visit to the Chateau d’Amboise.
6. The Gardens At The Chateau d’Amboise
Be sure to walk through the fabulous gardens at the Chateau d’Amboise. Bird lovers will enjoy the “Feathered Garden Friends” route. Keep your eyes open! More than 90 species of birds reside here throughout the year.
Don’t miss the ancient Lebanese cedar tree, the Landscaped Gardens, and the Oriental Gardens which all provide a beautiful and tranquil oasis.
7. The Leonardi da Vinci Bust
In the lower part of the gardens is the white marble bust of Leonardo da Vinci. It marks the spot of an ancient church, the St. Florentin Church, where he was initially buried.
8. Château du Close Lucé: Leonardo da Vinci’s Home
2, rue du Close Lucé, Amboise
The Château du Clos Lucé was once home to none other than the great Leonardo da Vinci himself. Visitors to the 15th-century Clos Lucé Château will be immersed in the Renaissance period and, in the world of the renowned artist, inventor, and scientist.
Visit Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop and the bedroom where he breathed his last breath on May 2, 1519. Wander through the park, an open-air museum, with translucent canvasses and giant interactive models built according to Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches.
How did Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian master, end up living in Amboise at the Château du Clos Lucé?
Leonardo da Vinci ended up living in Amboise, France thanks to an invitation from King Francis I of France. In 1516, the Italian artist and inventor was at the height of his fame, having already created masterpieces such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Francis I was an admirer of da Vinci’s work and was eager to have him come to France to serve as the “first painter, engineer, and architect” to the king.
Leonardo da Vinci arrived in Amboise in 1516 and was given the Clos Lucé manor house to live in by the king. Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life in Amboise.
How Far Is Château du Clos Lucé from The Château d’Amboise?
It takes 7 minutes to walk between the two castles.
Château du Clos Lucé Hours: January: 10 am to 6 pm; February to June: 9 am to 7 pm; July and August: 9 am to 8 pm; September and October: 9 am to 7 pm; November and December: 9 am to 6 pm
Open daily except December 25 and January 1.
Entry Rates 2023: 18€ per adult Book Your Ticket Now
Guided Tour Including Château du Clos Lucé: Do a full-day e-bike tour including Chenonceau, Château du Clos Lucé and visiting wineries and wine tasting! Book This Fun Tour
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Amboise?
Amboise is located in the department of Indre-et-Loire, which is part of the Centre-Val de Loire region of France. Indre-et-Loire is named after the Indre and Loire rivers that flow through the department. Its capital city is Tours, which is located about 15 miles (25 km) west of Amboise
Is There Another Chateau Near Amboise?
Planning your Loire Valley itinerary? The Castle of Amboise is in a great location for visiting other Loire Valley castles. Here are some distances:
Château de Chenonceau to Amboise: 7 miles (12 km)
The Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire to Amboise: 10 miles (17 km)
Château de Chambord to Amboise: 33 miles (53 km)
How Can I Best Plan A Day Around The Château d’Amboise?
If you have a full day in the Loire Valley, spend the morning at the Château de Chenonceau and the afternoon at Amboise. Leave ample time for both castles in Amboise.
How Do I Get To Amboise By Car?
Planning your Loire Valley trip by car? Rent My Car Here
How Do I Get To Amboise From Paris By Train?
The train journey from Paris to Amboise is approximately 2 hours.
Take the TGV train from Gare Montparnasse to St-Pierre des Corps. Transfer to a regional train to the station of Amboise.
Take the regional train (TER) from Gare Austerlitz to Orléans Centre. Transfer to a second train that stops at the station of Amboise. Or, take the regional train (TER) that is direct to Amboise.
Use the Trainline application to look at the different options available. Book My Train Ticket To Amboise
How Far Is The Amboise Train Station From the Town of Amboise?
The Amboise train station is about a 15-minute walk to Amboise. Alternatively, take a bus or taxi.
Is Amboise On The Loire Valley Bike Paths?
Amboise is definitely on the bike route called La Loire à Velo, a 500-mile (800 km) cycling route.
Is There A Market In Amboise?
It would be a great addition to the day to peruse the market in Amboise which takes place on Friday and Sunday mornings.
I hope you enjoy visiting the Chateau d’Amboise in the Loire Valley as much as I did.
Until next time,
More Travel Info…
Resources For Travelling France:
Here are my most popular Paris resources: 25 Essential Paris Travel Tips. If you like getting off the beaten path, here are 25 hidden gems in Paris. Really want to explore secret Paris? There are over 60 secret spots in my eBook, Paris for the Curious Stroller. Uncover Paris right here.
More French Castles:
You may want to visit other Loire Valley castles such as the Château de Chenonceau, Chambord, Chaumont-sur-Loire and the Château de Brissac, a family-owned castle. And don’t miss the stunning Azay-le-Rideau!
Chantilly is the perfect day trip from Paris.
Versailles, the UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most famous of French castles is also just a day trip from Paris.
Other Regions In France:
Normandy is another beloved region of France for locals and visitors alike. Read 19 Wonderful Things To Do in Normandy France to help you plan your itinerary in this region.
Brittany France is on many people’s France Bucket List! Here are 13 Reasons to Fall in Love with Brittany France.
Provence is always a winner. Follow this 7-day itinerary for a great trip.
The Dordogne Valley is a little less-discovered and a fabulous region to plan a holiday.
And a trip to le Pays Basque is never a bad idea! Start here in Biarritz.