Amboise retains all the charm of a royal city. On one side, the majestic castle overlooking the Loire, where François I lived and transformed it into a state-of-the-art court. On the other, the castle of the Clos Lucé, where the ingenious Leonardo da Vinci worked on many projects and inventions for the king.
You only have to walk along the banks of the Loire, contemplating the Château Royal de Amboise, to realise that the city is deeply linked to its river: be amazed by its picture-postcard views.
In the heart of the Loire Valley, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a living cultural landscape, Amboise is home to prestigious monuments such as the Château Royal, the Clos Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci’s house, the Château Gaillard estate and the Chanteloup Pagoda, a Chinese-inspired monument.
Although the Château Royal is the town’s main attraction, the historic centre is very charming and we recommend exploring it unhurriedly, admiring the marvellous views of the banks of the Loire and the Ile d’Or, the small island that divides the river into two branches.
The tour of the city starts from the square Place Michel Debré1, dominated by the Castle: it is the beating heart of the centre, full of shops, brasseries and bistros to taste the local gastronomy. Before turning into Rue François 1er, don’t miss the view of Tour de l'Horloge2, along Rue Nationale, the city’s main gateway.
To experience the lively atmosphere of the city, walk along Rue nationale3, the shopping street, lined with interesting shops and fragrant boulangeries and tea rooms.
Also not to be missed is the Amboise market, which takes place every Friday and Sunday morning from 8 a.m. to 1.30 p.m. in the streets of the city centre: let yourself be guided to the discovery of stalls overflowing with local delicacies and the scents and colours of Loire Valley gastronomy.
On the banks of the Loire, the castle of Amboise is one of the most emblematic in the Loire Valley. The castle has survived the centuries and still tells a story closely linked to that of the Kings of France.
You can explore the royal flats where François I grew up, admire the vast Council Chamber, tiptoe into the Saint-Hubert Chapel, which houses the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci, climb to the top of the imposing Tour cavalier des Minimes to admire the exceptional panorama over the Loire and finally stroll through the beautiful gardens that colour the castle terrace.
A few steps away from the royal fortress, the manor of Clos Lucé was Leonardo da Vinci’s home until his death. In this silent abode, the Italian genius was able to devote the last years of his life to studying and devising machines and inventions.
In the park, you can operate a number of life-size machines made from his drawings. Installed outdoors, these giant machines reveal the creative and bubbly spirit of Leonardo da Vinci. Inside, on the other hand, you can admire more than 40 canvases depicting portraits, botanical drawings, anatomy sketches and civil and military engineering projects: a fascinating walk through his brilliant universe.
The royal estate of Gaillard is a citrus fruit paradise. In the Orangerie Royale and the greenhouse, you will discover a collection of 160 trees representing no less than 60 varieties of citrus fruit: Orange Tree Commander’s Pear, Buddha’s Hand, Adam’s Apple, Pink Caviar are just a few surprising specimens, in terms of shape and colour.
It was Don Pacello de Mercogliano, a Neapolitan monk and master gardener to the kings of France, who began the long process of acclimatising the first orange trees in France. To reward him for his efforts, the king offered him the Chateau-Gaillard estate, in exchange for a bouquet of orange blossoms every year.
Three kilometres from the Château d’Amboise, stands a surprising construction. The Chanteloup pagoda, clearly Chinese-inspired, reaches a height of 44 metres: you will have to climb the 149 steps to its summit to enjoy an exceptional view over the Loire Valley and the Amboise forest.
Alternatively, hire a small boat to ply the crescent-shaped stretch of water at its foot, before enjoying the 40 old-fashioned wooden games at your disposal. Real fun for young and old.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
The lively centre of Amboise is full of quaint shops and picturesque brasseries, where you can enjoy local specialities and the region’s renowned wines. To fully experience the bustle of the city, we recommend that you choose accommodation in the historic centre: you will then be able to enjoy the evening panorama and visit Amboise’s attractions.
The city offers many accommodations in the historic centre, with charming hotels in old buildings or newer accommodations boasting every comfort.
The reference point for reaching Amboise by plane is Paris, served by the international airports of Paris Orly and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Alternatively, although further away, you could consider the airports of Nantes, Bordeaux or Lyon.
Definitely the best way to reach Amboise is by car: you will have total autonomy to stop along the way to admire the wonders of the Loire Valley and no time restrictions. You can rent a car directly at the airport.
Paris is about 220 kilometres from Amboise: the fastest route is the A10 motorway, which will take you to the royal city in about 2 hours and 20 minutes . If you are arriving from Bordeaux, you always drive along the A10 for 370 kilometres. From Lyon, on the other hand, it is 460 kilometres.
For those travelling by train, the Gare d’Amboise is located not far from the centre. The French SCNF railways provide INTERCITY and TER connections to various cities in France.
Starting from Paris Gare d’Austerlitz, it takes 2 hours without changes to get to Amboise. From Nantes, the journey time is just under two hours, while from Bordeaux, it is necessary to change at St-Pierre-des-Corps, about 10 minutes from Amboise.
What's the weather at Amboise? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Amboise for the next few days.
Amboise is located in the heart of the Loire Valley, on the banks of the Loire River, 27 kilometres east of Tours and 220 km from Paris.