Visit the town where Charles VIII of France was born and Leonardo da Vinci died. Explore lavish palaces and the fields and forests of the Loire Valley.
The wealth, power and prestige of French monarchs from previous centuries are easily seen in the royal residences in and around Amboise. This medieval town in the Loire Valley served as the part-time home of the French royal court during the 16th and 17th centuries. Explore historic palaces, then venture into the surrounding countryside to see more palatial buildings.
Amboise’s most visible attraction is the Chateau d’Amboise, which served as the residence of such French monarchs as Charles VIII and François I. Tour the well-preserved interior of this grand structure. Located on a hilltop overlooking the town, there are panoramic views to be enjoyed from its 130-feet (40-meter) Minimes Tower. Below is the River Loire, where you can see the small Golden Island and its homes and old church.
Nearby is the Chateau du Clos Lucé where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life. Step inside the furnished rooms on the first floor, then go down to the basement to see models and animations based on some of his inventions and ideas.
Approximately 2 miles (3 kilometers) south of the town is the Pagoda of Chanteloup. The 18th-century tower stands over a pond on the outskirts of a forest. Climb the stairs to the top of this 144-feet (44-meter) tall structure and look out over the Loire Valley.
See more of the region by taking a drive or bicycle ride and visit some of the royal residences that dot the countryside. The Chateau of Chenonceau and the Chateau of Cheverny are two of the most popular. Look at French palaces in miniature at the Parc de Mini-Chateaux. It features 44 scale models of the area’s royal homes amid a landscaped garden.
Amboise is less than a 3-hour drive from Paris. The sumptuous palaces and countryside are pleasant escapes from the French capital city.