Amboise, Loire Valley: tourism & sightseeing

Photo of Amboise in Indre-et-Loire

Visit Amboise (Loire Valley, France)


The town of Amboise is on the banks of the Loire river, between Blois (to the north-east) and Tours (to the west) and in the heart of the 'chateaux region' of the Loire Valley.

Although it is small, Amboise has an interesting historical centre, an attractive open square in the centre, and also two of the most important historic monuments in the region: the Chateau d'Amboise and the Maison du Clos Lucé, better known as Leonardo da Vinci's House, and a visit is recommended.

Amboise has also received the classification of a protected Historic Town in France.

Exploring Amboise

Your visit to Amboise will undoubtedly start in the main central square which occupies a large part of the centre of the town, and has the castle to one side and various shops and cafes on the other side. Several of these shops and cafes are established in interesting half-timbered medieval houses, adding to the overall appeal.

Before rushing to see the two principal attractions (the chateau and Leonardo' house) allow time to stroll through the historical quarter of Amboise, to the north-west of this central square. One of the principal monuments of interest here is the 15th century clocktower, which is built above one of the original stone gateways originally built as part of the town's defences.

Also just below the castle you can see the 15th century Church of Saint-Florentin.

The Loire river is just a few metres outside the north end of the main square. We recommend you stroll a short distance along the river banks and also across the bridge in the centre of Amboise, which allows some of the best views to the town and castle, and also along the river itself.

Amboise tourist office is also here, on the Quai General de Gaulle.

If you are able to visit on a Friday or Sunday morning you will also enjoy looking around the popular market in Amboise.

Chateau d'Amboise

The Castle in Amboise dominates most of the town centre and is one of the main attractions for visitors. Entrance to the castle is up a flight of stairs from the central square, and visitors can enjoy the terraces and gardens as well as admiring the royal apartments.

It was built for King Charles VII in the 15th century, on the site of an earlier castle. From the end of the 15th century to the second half of the 16th century the castle played host to many important Kings and nobles before falling into decline with the Wars of Religion.

See more information at Chateau d'Amboise.

Time for a coffee pause in the square before heading to the ...

Chateau de Clos-Lucé

A short walk outside the main centre of Amboise (well signposted) there is another monument that is very interesting to visit. The Chateau de Clos-Lucé is best known as being the house where Leonardo da Vinci was invited to live by King Francois I - Leonardo lived here from 1516 to the time of his death in 1519.

Although it is the association with da Vinci that is the main theme of a visit to the house, the house and gardens would be very interesting even without this association (much as Shakespeare's house in Stratford would be interesting as a house of the period, even without the Shakespeare association).

In the substantial brick manor house you can see several rooms carefully furnished as they were at the time of Leonardo, as well as recreations of several of his most imaginative inventions and also the extensive gardens and parkland that surround the house.

See more information at Chateau de Clos Lucé.

Attractions nearby

A short distance from Amboise you can visit the Chanteloup Pagoda, an impressive pagoda of six levels and 44 metres high. This pagoda is almost all that remains of a grand castle that stood here until the 18th century. The castle of Chanteloup itself was seized during the revolution, then remained empty for many years. No buyer could be found, and the castle was sold to a local demolition company who used the materials from the castle elsewhere.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Indre-et-Loire guide and the Loire Valley guide.

See also:

Map of Amboise and places to visit

Visit near Amboise with France This Way reviews

... or see ALL recommended places to visit in Indre-et-Loire

Tourist classifications

Amboise is classified as a historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé)

Address: Amboise, Tours, Indre-et-Loire, Loire Valley, 37400, France || GPS: latitude 47.404167, longitude 0.98

Plan your visit to Amboise, Loire Valley

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Aquarium du Val-de-Loire: aquarium (5km)
  • Parc et jardins du château de Valmer: remarkable garden (10km)
  • Parc et jardins du château de Chenonceau: remarkable garden (11km)
  • Réserve de Beaumarchais: zoo or wildlife park (13km)
  • Domaine régional de Chaumont-sur-Loire: remarkable garden (17km)
  • Le jardin des Prébendes d'Oé: remarkable garden (22km)
  • Tours: town of art and history (22km)
  • Cloisters of la Psalette: national monument (22km)
  • Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire: ville fleurie 4* (24km)
  • Les jardins du prieuré de Saint-Cosme: remarkable garden (24km)

Market days in Amboise, France

Regular market(s) are held in Amboise each Sunday & Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)

The French version of this page is at Amboise (Francais)