Chateau d'Amboise, Loire Valley

Photo of Chateau d'Amboise in Indre-et-Loire

Discover Chateau d'Amboise

PHOTO GALLERY MAP & PLACES TO VISIT

The Chateau d'Amboise sits on a ledge above the town of Amboise, with some great views over the Loire and countryside.

The castle has a long and illustrious history, dating back to its initial construction of a castle here in the 11th century. By the 15th century it was a substantial castle that passed to the French royal family after its then owner, Louis d'Amboise, had been executed for plotting against the King.

It was at the end of the 15th century that the castle in its current form took shape, under the instructions of King Charles VII. As well as reconstructing the castle in a late gothic - early renaissance style, it was also at this time that Charles VIII expanded the terraces and gardens that stand next to Amboise castle.

The importance of the castle continued to increase, especially under Francois I - it was also francois I who invited Leonardo da Vinci to live nearby (at Clos Lucé) and who was entertained at the castle, and is also said to have provided inspiration for some of the architectural highlights at Francois' castles. It is sometimes claimed that Leonardo da Vinci is buried in the adjacent Saint-Hubert Chapel, another highlight of a visit with its stone carvings and stained glass windows).

Over the following decades the castle was home to many royals, including King Henry II, Catherine de Medici, and Mary Stuart (queen of Scotland, who was to marry Francois II). The relative peace was to be shattered during the wars of religion, and it was in 1560 that a terrible vengeance was wreaked against the protestants who had plotted against the King with more than 1000 of them being hung from the castle walls.

The glory days of Chateau Amboise were passed, and within 100 years the castle was more or less abandoned, with a substantial part being demolished as a consequence of the French revolution, and further demolition following when parts of the castle were deemd to be unsafe. The fortunes of the castle only began to improve from the middle of the 19th century. King Louis-Philippe of the newly restored monarchy in France started renovating the building, with further work being carried out intermittently over the following 30 years by his descendants.

Visit Amboise chateau

Amboise chateau is still owned by the descendants of Louis Philippe, who maintain and operate the castle as an important tourist attraction.

The castle is open all year round with visitors able to explore freely in the royal apartments, the chapel and the surrounding gardens, although parts of the castle such as the underground passages can only be accessed on guided tours at restricted times.

See more Loire Valley castles.

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

See also:

Map of Chateau d'Amboise and places to visit

Visit near Chateau d'Amboise with France This Way reviews

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

Address: Amboise, Tours, Indre-et-Loire, Loire Valley, 37400, France || GPS: latitude 47.4131, longitude 0.9858

Sightseeing & tourist attractions to visit nearby

  • Amboise: secteur sauvegarde
  • Aquarium du Val-de-Loire: aquarium (6km)
  • Parc et jardins du château de Valmer: remarkable garden (9km)
  • Parc et jardins du château de Chenonceau: remarkable garden (12km)
  • Réserve de Beaumarchais: zoo or wildlife park (12km)
  • Domaine régional de Chaumont-sur-Loire: remarkable garden (16km)
  • 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)