Loire Valley

Castle of Amboise

In this magnificent château overlooking the Loire, Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life, creating contraptions and grandiose feasts for King François I.

Perched on a rocky promontory in the heart of the town, Amboise Castle dominates the course of the Loire in all its magnificence.

Although medieval in origin, the castle owes its current appearance to the various remodelling and extensions carried out by Charles VIII in 1492 and Frederick I. The great magnate turned the castle into his court of residence, bringing in artists and famous European personalities such as Leonardo da Vinci, who spent the last years of his life here.

The history of the royal château d’Amboise is deeply intertwined with the great History of France. A royal residence during the Renaissance, the burial place of the genius Leonardo da Vinci, a luxurious and libertine court, the château is an exceptional testimony to the profound changes that took place in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Amboise is an extraordinary and monumental place, offering a stupendous panorama of the Loire River.

Things to do at Amboise Castle

The royal castle of Amboise has had illustrious owners, kings who entered French history. It was Charles VII, born in the castle, who transformed it into a magnificent Gothic palace. The sovereign completely renovated it so beautifully that it became one of the jewels of the early Renaissance.

Saint-Hubert Chapel

The Saint-Hubert Chapel is located outside the castle and is built in the flamboyant Gothic style, decorated with representations of hunting scenes. Indeed, it is no coincidence that Saint-Hubert is the patron saint of hunters. Today, it houses the relics of Leonardo Da Vinci.

The royal flats

During your visit, you will admire the royal flats: the Charles VIII Wing is in the Flamboyant Gothic style and contains the King’s and Queen’s rooms, while the Louis XII Wing is in the Renaissance style and houses the flats dating from the 19th century.

The Terraces

The most fascinating part of the Château d’Amboise is the beautiful garden-terraces overlooking the Loire River: from here, an unparalleled panorama can be admired.

The creation of the gardens reflects a great change. Charles VIII, after an enlightening trip to Italy, called several craftsmen to court, including a gardening monk, Dom Pacello, who designed the exteriors and introduced the Italian style with fountains, pavilions and flowerbeds, elements completely new for a fortress.

The balcony was equipped with two towers, the Heurtault tower and the Minimes tower, which allowed knights and noble carriages to access the terraces directly from the banks of the Loire: a kind of lift with an elevated car park of the time.

The manor of Clos Lucé

King François I became a close friend of Leonardo da Vinci. He assigned him a mansion, the manor of Clos Lucé, directly connected to the castle via an underground passage. This secret shortcut allowed the king to visit the great genius without being seen by the court.

Numerous sketches by Leonardo, as futuristic as ever, are still preserved in the dungeons: a siege bridge, a tank and the ancestor of a helicopter.

In the gardens, on the other hand, you can admire, and in some cases even try out, some life-size reconstructions of Leonardo’s original drawings.

Tickets for the Château d’Amboise

The château is open for visits every day of the year, except 1 January and 25 December.

Included in the entrance ticket is the Histopad, an interactive tablet that makes the visit much more interesting: by means of 3D reconstructions, you can take a plunge into the past, discovering life at the château, admiring the original furnishings and seeing the rooms ‘animated’. It is available in 12 languages.

Admission is free for children under the age of 7.

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Although Château d'Amboise was a royal residence from the 15th to the 19th centuries, construction on the grounds dates back to the 9th century! You can revel in medieval, Gothic, and Renaissance architecture in this enchanting structure that towers over the River Loire.The château is intrinsically linked to France's history, having hosted tragedy and beauty.

Guided tours of Amboise Castle

Guided tours can be booked throughout the year, conducted by a specialised castle docent. They are available in French, English, German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese, for a maximum of 50 people per group.

Manor of Clos-Lucé, the home of Leonardo Da Vinci

At the age of 64, Leonardo arrived at the court of King Francis I of France in 1516, after the death of his patron Giuliano de Medici. In the manor of Clos-Lucé, which was assigned to him by the sovereign, he devoted himself full-time to drawing and teaching, in particular with in-depth studies of canals, urbanism and architecture.

During this period, he designed the Romorantin Palace and the famous spiral staircase of the Château de Chambord. Having become a close friend of the king, he devised various entertainments for his court. The most famous one, which has gone down in history, was the Feast of Paradise, devised in 1518: thanks to an ingenious piece of machinery, Leonardo succeeded in making the race of the stars.

Unforgettable at court was his lion automaton: Leonardo built a mechanical structure in the shape of a lion that could walk. Its chest opened to make flowers bloom in honour of King Francis I.

Leonardo died at his residence on 2 May 1519 and was buried in the collegiate church of Saint-Florentin, inside Amboise Castle.

Where to stay in Amboise

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Amboise Castle stands on a rocky spur overlooking the town of the same name overlooking the Loire River.

The easiest option is to find accommodation in the picturesque town of Amboise and walk to the castle. Close to the castle, there are many manors and historic buildings that have been converted into charming accommodation for an enchanting stay.

Charming hotels in Amboise

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Le Clos d'Amboise
Amboise - 27 rue RabelaisExtra sanitary measures
8.9,0Fabulous 908 reviews
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Le Pavillon des Lys
Amboise - 9 Rue D'orangeExtra sanitary measures
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Hotel Spa
Amboise - 25 Rue RabelaisExtra sanitary measures
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Hotel Spa
Amboise - 25 Rue RabelaisExtra sanitary measures
Book now

How to reach Amboise from Paris

Amboise Castle is about 2 hours 20 minutes from Paris. Many tourists visiting the French capital decide to spend a few days in the Loire Valley to admire the most famous and easily accessible castles, such as Amboise, Blois and Chambord.

By car

The quickest route from Paris is to follow the A10 motorway, exit at Amboise, then take the D31 and then the N152.

By train

If you want to get to Amboise from Paris, there are two viable options.

You can take the Paris Montparnasse -Tours by TGV: a 55-minute journey. From Tours you must then change to a regional train to Amboise.

Or the Paris Austerlitz- Amboise: about 1 hour 40 minutes.

Castle of Amboise Weather

What's the weather at Castle of Amboise? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Castle of Amboise for the next few days.

Saturday 2
Sunday 3
10°
Monday 4
Tuesday 5
12°
Wednesday 6
13°
Thursday 7
13°

Useful information

Address

Mnt de l'Emir Abd el Kader, 37400 Amboise, France

Contacts

TEL: +33 2 47 57 00 98

Timetables

    Open every day from 10:00 am  to  12:30 pm, 2:00  to  4:30 pm

Where is located Castle of Amboise

The castle of Amboise is located about 230 km from Paris and 250 km from Nantes.

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Insights

Amboise

Amboise

An exceptional castle and enchanting alleyways for strolling: Amboise and its surroundings perfectly symbolise the spirit of 'beauty' imported from Italy during the Renaissance.
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