Amboise and It’s Castle
Amboise is a small town really, and it’s chateau is not the most impressive in the region, but being there puts you in the heart of all that is most typically Loire: chateaux, gardens, wine, rivers, Kings!
The town of Amboise, which lies on the south bank of the Loire below the proud remains of its castle, appears at its most picutresque when seen from the bridge of the north bank of the river. The rock spur above the town, on which the chateau ruins stand, has been fortified since the Gallo -Roman period. Before long a bridge was built which brought in revenue from tolls on the passage of goods and increased the strategic importance of Amboise. The golden age of Amboise was the 15th century when the chateau was enlarged and embellished by Louis XI and Charles VIII.
The Royal castle: Built in the 15th and 16th centuries, this truly royal castle introduced Italian style and taste into the Loire Valley. It is steeped in history and the outstanding collection of Gothic and Renaissance furniture make it a wonderfully convivial illustration of life in days gone by. After touring the royal apartments, take a stroll in the beautiful gardens filled with Mediterranean trees and enjoy the panoramic views. In St. Hubert’s Chapel is the grave of Leonardo da Vinci which has recently been the subject of elegant restoration.
Le Clos Luce: its park and the Eiffel-style hall contain an unusual display giving some idea of the many facets of Leonardo da Vinci’s genius in fields as different as art, civil and military engineering, architecture and town planning, anatomy, botany, stage direction etc… The public is taken into an amazing world of visual and sound effects:
- In the Château du Clos Luce itself: Leonardo da Vinci’s everyday life and his 40 fabulous inventions.
- In the landscaped walk: a learning experience with Leonardo and his student.
- In the Eiffel-style hall: a Leonardo scenography, a display of gigantic images and videos.
Amboise can easily be reached by train from Paris. You can either go on the slow train from Austerlitz to Amboise or take the TGV from Montparnasse or CDG airport to Joue les Tours and then a short taxi ride to Amboise. In the town and surrounding the town are numerous hotels. At Discover France we have used a variety over the years and have detailed knowledge about what hotels meet the needs of travelers. Some good choices include: Le Choiseul, Le Clos d’Amboise, Le Manoir les Minimes, Manoir Thomas. These are mostly upper end establishments. Many good vineyards surround the town of Amboise including Vouvray and Montlouis. There are several good places for tasting in Amboise including a rather commercial but friendly place right below the chateau where the servers speak English.