Château d'Amboise

The resting place of Leonardo da Vinci is an imposing fortress filled with elegant chapels and an abundance of fascinating history.

Visit the Château d'Amboise to see a hall of fine motifs and intricate windows and view the tomb of one of the world’s great thinkers. Walk through vast corridors of battle-ready weapons and break out into a serene garden with beautiful views of the river.

Approach the château and understand why it was seen as desirable by royals during the 13th century. Louis d'Amboise had possession of a smaller fort here until the mid 1400s. It was seized by Charles VIII who suspected Louis of plotting against the monarchy. Extensive remodeling took place at that time, although many of the Gothic and Renaissance features visible today were added much later.

Stand beneath the huge and imposing Minimes and Heurtault towers. Note that the castle never had the opportunity to utilize its immense defensive capabilities. Thick, stone turrets were constantly ready for battle, yet the most significant catastrophes to occur here were the kidnapping of Francis II in 1560 and the unlikely death of Charles VIII when he banged his head on a low door frame.

Wander through the long corridors. Notice that these were built extremely wide in order to allow knights to ride through on horseback. The walls are adorned with sharp axes and shining swords with suits of armor standing menacingly. Décor is modest throughout although the hall of drummers features a fine portrait of the house’s former owner along with an exquisite depiction of Anne of Brittany.

From here, go to the Chappelle St. Hubert, detached from the main building. The façade is decorated with intricate carvings and the chapel has a tall Gothic spire. Inside note the light shining through bright stained-glass windows. Here lies the tomb of the remarkable painter, sculptor and scientist Leonardo da Vinci, decorated simply with his death mask. King Francis 1 asked Da Vinci to Amboise and the artist lived there for 3 years before his death.

Visit Château d'Amboise in the town of Amboise, overlooking the Loire River. The château is open every day and has a small entry fee.

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