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Visiting Chateau d'Amboise: Loire Valley, France

Traveling has always been one of my passions. It exposes us to new cultures and experiences and makes the world a more tolerant place.

Chateau d'Amboise

Chateau d'Amboise

Perched atop a bluff above the scenic Loire River and the quaint French town of Amboise is a quintessential French chateau known appropriately as Chateau d'Amboise. With its stunning cliff-like setting and a gorgeous view looking out over the French countryside, it's clear why this location was selected for one of the more impressive chateaux of the Loire Valley.

Chateau d'Amboise dates back to the 11th century and has certainly seen its share of French history. Originally built as a fortress, by the mid-15th century the property was confiscated by the French monarchy and for the next century and a half would become a favorite residence of French royalty. By the 17th century, however, the fortunes of Chateau d'Amboise would turn and a period of decline began as the castle saw years of abandonment, use as a prison, and it's near destruction during the French Revolution.

In 1840 King Louis Philippe took an interest in the property and began a restoration of the chateau. At this time the structure was designated a French Historical Monument by the French Ministry of Culture.

With Philippe's abdication in 1848, the chateau once again changed hands with the government taking control of the fortress. In 1873 Chateau d' Amboise was returned to the heirs of Louis Philippe and a complete restoration of the building was begun. Unfortunately during World War II, the chateau suffered yet more damage during the German invasion and occupation. Following the war restoration efforts once again began, and today the Saint-Louis Foundation maintains the chateau and is responsible for its upkeep.

A Little History on Chateau Amboise

Visiting Chateau Amboise

Due to its position above Amboise on a bluff, visitors will have to walk up the long ramp to gain access to the chateau. Because Chateau d’ Amboise is a medieval fortress it does not have modern handicap access facilities. Should you require assistance accessing the grounds please contact the ticket office as they do have new facilities and services policy to assist visitors.

After going through the ticket office you will exit out into the grounds of the chateau and it is here that you will first realize the true magnificence of this grand chateau. The fully restored castle stands in all its glory looking out over the Loire Valley with the colorful flags of French Royalty fluttering in the wind.

As you make your way along the outer wall take time to admire the view of the French countryside, the rooftops of Amboise, and the River Loire. The grounds are extensive and in addition to the chateau, there are the beautiful terraced gardens of Amboise and the Chapel of Saint-Hubert where Leonardo da Vinci is buried. King Francois I invited the aging da Vinci to Amboise in early 1516 and he spent the last three years of his life at the nearby Clos Luce manor house.

Knowledge of the past and of the places of the earth is the ornament and food of the mind of man.

— Leonardo da Vinci

Chapel Saint-Hubert

Chapel Saint-Hubert

Tomb of Leonardo da Vinci

Tomb of Leonardo da Vinci

Bedroom fit for a king

Bedroom fit for a king

The chateau that visitors see today is the result of numerous restorations over many centuries. In all likelihood the chateau is a fraction of its original size but still presents an imposing figure overlooking Amboise.

Your tour through the chateau will highlight its collection of Renaissance and Gothic furniture as you weave your way through the royal rooms including the Guard's Room, the Grand Council Chamber, the Drummer's Room, the Study, and the numerous bedrooms and apartments where many a king spent the night. There are a number of paintings of French Royalty and some interesting tapestries to be seen along the way. Your visitor's guide, which comes in many languages will explain the historical significance of each room and point out the artwork for you.

The self-guided tour eventually takes you to the top of the Minimes Tower, one of two spiral turrets, the other being the Heurtault Tower, and the pinnacle of your visit as the views from here out over the River Loire and the valley are spectacular. Guided tours are available should you desire and you can inquire at the ticket office upon your arrival.

The Guard's Room

The Guard's Room

The Orleans Study

The Orleans Study

View of the River Loire from the Minimes Tower

View of the River Loire from the Minimes Tower

Bust of Leonardo da Vinci

Bust of Leonardo da Vinci

After touring the chateau be sure to leave plenty of time to visit the gardens. While the interior of the chateau is certainly historical and must be seen, it is the exterior of the chateau from the numerous vantage points around the property that is truly exciting. Here you will discover a wonderful assortment of flora and the terraced garden landscape provides many wonderful photo opportunities of the castle.

While the chateau itself has seen centuries of renovation, historians are certain that the gardens seen today differ little from medieval times. Set amongst the garden is a statue that commemorates the spot where Leonardo da Vinci was originally buried prior to being moved to the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in 1871.

The Courtyard of Chateau d'Amboise

The Courtyard of Chateau d'Amboise

View of Chateau d'Amboise from the gardens

View of Chateau d'Amboise from the gardens

Chateau Royal d’Amboise

  • BP 371
  • F-37 403 Amboise Cedex
  • Phone: +33/(0)2 47 57 00 98
  • Fax: +33/(0)2 47 57 52 23
  • contact@chateau-amboise.com

Visitor Information

Open year round except closed on Christmas and New Years Day

  • Peak season hours are 9 am to 7 pm.
  • Off peak hours differ by month.

Admission Fee with Histopad:

  • Adult – 13.10 euro
  • Student – 11.30 euro
  • Child (7-18) – 9 euro
  • Under age 7 free

Admission Fee - Behind the scenes of History:

  • Adult – 17.60 euro
  • Student – 15.80 euro
  • Child – 13.50 euro


When touring this region of France you will have many choices when it comes to visiting the grand chateaux of the Loire Valley. Chateau Amboise is certainly one of the more interesting chateau's and its proximity just above Amboise allows visitors the opportunity to stroll through this charming French town that has wonderful cafes and shops of all types. The fact that Leonardo da Vinci is buried here also peaked our interest and it was fascinating to learn how he wound up here in France toward the end of his life. His residence while living here in Amboise is called Chateau du Clos Luce and is within walking distance.

I hope you enjoyed this brief tour of Chateau d'Amboise. In one day it is certainly possible to combine a visit to the chateau, a walk through the lovely town of Amboise, and a visit to the nearby Chateau Chenonceau, which is only twenty minutes away. It all adds up to a great day exploring the wonders of this fascinating region of France.

Au Revoir.


© 2015 Bill De Giulio

Comments

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on May 15, 2020:

This area of France is known for its magnificent chateaux. Chateau D’Amboise was beautiful and with Leonardo da Vinci buried other we had to visit.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2020:

What a magnificent chateau! I had no idea that Leonardo da Vinci spent his last years there as a guest and is buried there. Those gardens look beautiful. Thanks for another tour of a place that I have not visited.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 06, 2015:

Thanks Kristen.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 06, 2015:

My pleasure, Bill. I enjoy your hubs so much.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on April 05, 2015:

Hi Kristen. Thank you. We really enjoyed our visit to a few of the grand chateaux. Paris was pretty nice also

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 05, 2015:

Great hub Bill. Very useful and visual with that awesome and lovely photos. I would love to visit Paris someday. Voted up!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on March 28, 2015:

Hi Glimmer. Thank you. I hope you go somewhere wonderful this summer. This was our first visit to France and we really enjoyed it. We have not decided on a destination for this year yet but we are thinking about a number of places. Have a great weekend.

Claudia Mitchell on March 28, 2015:

Hi Bill - Dreaming of places to go on our vacation this summer and your hubs are always ones I go to. How beautiful this would be and I love the history. Thanks for another wonderful hub!

Marcelle Bell on February 24, 2015:

This is one of the few places I have not been to in France. Now I want to go though after reading your article. The pictures you include are beautiful and the detailed information if very helpful and interesting. Thumbs up!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 23, 2015:

Hi Kevin. Thank you. This was our first visit to France, would love to return some day. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Welcome to HubPages.

Kevin Deverson from Leyland, UK on February 22, 2015:

Never visited France, but this hub makes me want to, Great work

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 22, 2015:

Hi Flourish. Thank you. Isn't this a wonderful region of France? We also went to Chenonceau, which is close by. I'll have a hub out next week on that one. Would love to go back someday. Thanks so much for the share, pin, etc. Have a wonderful evening.

FlourishAnyway from USA on February 22, 2015:

Great hub, Bill, as always. I especially enjoyed your original photos. Pinning and sharing this! I never got around to writing about Amboise but did visit and enjoyed both the chateau and the village. I love the chateaux and hope to see so many more.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 22, 2015:

Hi Melissa. Thank you. Glad I could inspire you to write about your travels, I look forward to reading about them. Travel is a great topic to write about here, it's pretty much all I write about now. Welcome to HubPages.

Melissa Reese Etheridge from Tennessee, United States on February 22, 2015:

This is such a well-written Hub. I love your photos. You've inspired me to write about all of my travels. I just didn't think of that!

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 22, 2015:

Hi Linda. Thank you. We really enjoyed our time in Amboise and touring a few of the Grand Chateaux was fascinating. It's a beautiful region of France and we hope to return someday. Thanks as always and have a great Sunday.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on February 21, 2015:

This is yet another place that I'd love to visit. I always enjoy my virtual tour when reading your hubs! Thanks for sharing the information and the lovely photos, Bill.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 21, 2015:

Hi Anne. Thank you for stopping by to comment. You are correct, the Loire Valley has many, many interesting chateaux. My next hub will be on Chateau Chenonceau. Have a great weekend.

Anne Harrison from Australia on February 21, 2015:

There are so many chateaux to see, each with its own story - thank you for sharing

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 21, 2015:

Thank you Richard. There are many hidden gems out there waiting to be discovered. I hope you get there soon. Thanks for the visit, have a great day.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 21, 2015:

Hi Dwight. Thank you. It's certainly a beautiful place. We would love to go back someday. Thanks for stopping by, have a nice weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 21, 2015:

Thanks Bill. Someday we need to get you on a plane to Europe. I think you would find it amazing. Have a wonderful weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 21, 2015:

Hey Heidi. Who knew? Makes a great trivia question. Thanks so much for stopping by. We had a wonderful day touring a couple of the chateaux in a beautiful part of France. Thanks again, have a great weekend.

Bill De Giulio (author) from Massachusetts on February 21, 2015:

Hi Blackspaniel1. Thank you. We thoroughly enjoyed our day in Amboise and in particular getting the chance to tour Chateau Amboise. So much history and just a stunning location. Have a nice weekend.

Richard Bivins from Charleston, SC on February 21, 2015:

I agree with the others, this was a great tour and one I would like to physically take when I plan a trip to France. I would have never known about it if I hadn't stumbled across this jewel of a hub.

Dwight Phoenix from Jamaica on February 21, 2015:

Love the picture with the river and the rustic view of a country side in the background

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 21, 2015:

Breathtaking place....I felt like I was on the tour, thanks to you. My goodness, there is so much to see and here I am in Olympia seeing none of it. :) Well, thank you my friend. I appreciate the tour. Have a great weekend.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on February 21, 2015:

Had no idea Da Vinci was buried or lived near here! More absolutely gorgeous photos... as always. Voted up, beautiful and sharing!

Blackspaniel1 on February 21, 2015:

This is the next best thing than actually going there, and when one does go it shows what to be certain to include. Well done.