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Amboise in the Loire Valley

Anboise and its chateau on the bankx of the river Loire in France

Amboise is incredibly charming but also a bit 'touristy' because of its popularity with visitors to the Loire Valley. What brings them here is its historical links to the French Royal Family, its markets and a little surprisingly perhaps, its connection with Leonardo de Vinci.

Amboise street from the castle ramparts.

 Amboise from the castle ramparts.

 Amboise shopping street below chateau

It is a popular base for discovering  some of the other major chateaux that lie to the east of Tours including Chenonceau, Chaumont, Blois and Chambord, although, because of the excellent road network you are never really that far away from them anywhere in the region.

chocolaterie in Amboise

The town still retains its medieval feel and has plenty of good restaurants and cafes to relax in and sample the local wines and produce of the area. 

street scene in Amboise with half timbered houses

Amboise is incredibly charming but also a bit 'touristy' because of its popularity with visitors to the Loire Valley but what that means is that it also provides most of what is demanded of a popular destination.

The clock towerat Amboise in the Loire Valley

It's main draw is its chateau but the town has much more to offer...

Saint Denis church in Amboise

Started about 1107 by Hugues 1st Lord of Amboise, the church of St Denis in the town was built on the site of a Gallo-Roman monument.

Saint Denis Amboise altar

It is worth a visit to view its beautiful interior..

Amboise spectacular

During peak tourist season the Amboise puts on a spectacular sound and light show with hundreds (yes hundreds) of local volunteers bringing their history to life, you might not comprehend all that is going on but you’ll certainly enjoy the spectacle

Amboise fruit and vegetable stall at their market

On Fridays from 8 to 13h and Sundays from 8am to 14h, Amboise's outdoor riverside market which takes place behind Max Ernst's fascinating turtle fountain creation is a feast of sights and smells.The market on Friday mornings sells predominantly food and regional delicacies.  

Amboise market set out along the banks of the river Loire

The much larger Sunday market takes place in the Place du Marchée beside the Loire river selling wines, cheese, meat, fruit and vegetables of the local area, along with clothes and locally-made pottery. It draws visitors from all over the region and feels more like a fair than a market. The town has a fairground on the market square on the 3rd weekend of April.

Bridge over the river Loire at Amboise

The Loire river here at Amboise is best appreciated from atop the chateau or by a stroll across the bridge to the Leonardo da Vinci statue on Ile d'Or  then looking back towards the town - it is also a great photo opportunity but mind the traffic !

Leonardo da Vinci statue on Ile d'Or in Amboise in the Loire Valley

Read more about the statue here

Francois I spent his childhood here at the chateau and when he succeeded to the throne, he lavished much of his social skills on Amboise.

Clos-Luce in Amboise

He held frequent balls, feasts, tournaments and it was he who in 1516 invited Leonardo da Vinci to stay at the delightful Manoir du Close-Luce, nearby with the promise of a pension, with the only requirement being that he devote some of his time to conversation and companionship. It is said that there is a secret tunnel from the chateau to the Manoir du Clos -Luce. Leonardo's remains now lie within the Chapel of Saint-Hubert within the grounds of the chateau.

Clos-Luce Manoir and park in Amboise

A visit to Amboise would not be complete without a short walk down Rue Victor-Hugo to , past the troglodyte houses (complete with satellite dishes) cut into the limestone cliff face, to the enchanting house and gardens where Leonardo de Vinci spent his final years. 
More on Amboise


Amboise chateau wall



Amboise market



By car:

Driving from Paris take the A10 motorway (Paris-Bordeaux),  exit at junction 21 "Tours centre".

Driving from Tours, take N152 east to D32 and then turn south, following signs to Amboise, going along the banks of the Loire in the direction of Blois.

Directions and time to Amboise


To get directions and time to Amboise, type in your post code or your starting point,  i.e.: 'Paris'




External links:

Tourist office amboise-valdeloire

Official website of town (French)

Chateau-Amboise official site



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"Author: Jim Craig"

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