Amboise in the Loire Valley was the childhood home of Charles VIII and is where Leonardo da Vinci has his final resting place. Today Amboise is an elegant provincial town that sits along the Loire and overlooked by its fortified 15th century chateau.
The Chateau Royal d’Amboise
Open: 9am – 7pm Jul – Aug, 9am – 6.30pm Apr – Jun, 9am – 6pm Sep – Oct, 9am – 5.30pm Mar & early Nov, 9am – 12.30pm mid Nov – Feb
This chateau sprawls on a rocky bluff above the town. Charles VIII was responsible for its Italianate remodeling in 1492.
Unfortunately only a few of the 15th and 16th century structures have survived.
The Flamboyant Gothic Wing has survived along with the Chapelle St Hubert, which is believed to be the final resting place of Leonardo da Vinci.
Clos Luce (www.vinci-closluce.com)
Open: 9am – 8pm Jul -Aug, 9am – 7pm Feb – Jun & Sep – Oct, 9am -6pm Nov – Jan.
In 1516 Leonardo da Vinci moved into Clos Luce and today the house and grounds feature scale models of his inventions such as a primitive helicopter, hydraulic turbine, parachute, tank and a protoautomobile.
Camping Municipal de I’lle d’Or- This camping ground is pleasantly set on a peaceful river island. There are tennis courts, canoe hire and ping-pong.
Center Charles Peguy-Auberge de Jeunesse- (www.mjcamboise.fr)-This is a boarding style hostel that offers 72 beds that are set in three or four bedroom dorms. Here you can play table football and hire bicycles.
Hotel Blason (www.leblason.fr) – In former lives the Hotel Blason was a convent school, laundry and a blacksmith’s. The rooms here are on the small side, flowery and timber beamed.
Café des Arts – This is where the locals go. It is bar near the chateau’s old gate and dishes up bar snacks and beer.
Bigot – This award winning chocolatier and patisserie has been serving up their scrumptious treats since 1913. This is a must visit if only to sample the macarrons and hand made petit fours.
Chez Bruno – Enjoy a meal in a contemporary setting with snazzy art -work, gleaming glasses and white table -cloths. Sample the local vintages and enjoy good honest regional cooking.
The Touraine Fil Vert’s line C1 links Amboise with Tours.
There is a train service from Paris’ Gare d’Austerlitz, Blois and Tours.
Once in Amboise you can hire a mountain bike at Cycles Rides to do some local exploration.
Tourist Information (www.amboise-valdeloire.com)
The tourist office is open daily and here you can purchase cycling and walking maps as well as discount tickets for the chateau and Clos Luce.
Source: Europe on a Shoestring – The Lonely Planet