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From its position on top of its promontory, the Royal Château of Amboise enjoys a panoramic view over the Loire, whose waters it has been watching over since the dawn of time. The château became a royal residence in the early Renaissance period, and was the first château in the Loire Valley to see the introduction of the Italian style thanks to Charles VIII. His work was later pursued by Francis I alongside the Tuscan genius Leonardo da Vinci, who was buried in the château’s chapel. The Château of Amboise is a flagship site in French history and one of the finest of the Loire Châteaux.
The Royal Château of Amboise has played a unique role in French history. It was a favourite residence among the Kings of France and was the childhood home of some. It has played host to illustrious guests, including the great Leonardo da Vinci who was buried here, and each guest left their mark within its walls decorated in the Early French Renaissance style.

The promontory on which the Royal Château of Amboise is built was used as a strategic viewpoint as early as the Neolithic period, but it wasn’t until the 6th century that it began to play an important role in French history, when King Clovis of France took up arms against Visigoth King Alaric. After centuries of fighting, Philip Augustus took back Touraine in 1214 and established his vassal in Amboise. In 1431, the lord of the château, Louis of Amboise, was involved in a plot against Louis of La Trémoïlle, who was close to King Charles VII. When he was discovered he was spared the death penalty but was forced to give up the château, which became the property of the throne.

King Louis XI refurbished Amboise to accommodate the queen and the Dauphin, the future King Charles VIII who was born within the château’s walls. When the latter ascended to the throne, he chose his childhood residence to be the seat of the kingdom of the Valois. He began large-scale works to transform the medieval edifice into a sumptuous Gothic palace, which were carried out in two phases. The second phase began upon his return from Italy where he had been impressed by Renaissance works. He brought over Italian artists to decorate the château in the Renaissance style, but the king died young and by accident after hitting his head on a door lintel in the château. His successor, Louis XII, continued the work and creation of the gardens. 
King Francis I spent his childhood at Amboise and it was during his reign that the château reached the height of its glory. The king summoned Leonardo da Vinci from Italy and lodged him just a stone’s throw from the château in Le Clos Lucé, which was connected to the château via an underground passage. The great Italian master’s grave is located in the Saint-Hubert chapel adjacent to the château. King Henry II and his wife Catherine de’ Medici raised their children here, but it was not long before the French War of Religions broke out during the reign of their son, Francis II. The Court left the château, which was later used a simple stopping place for the Bourbon kings.

A century later, the château was partially dismantled and used to hold prisoners, notably Super-intendant to the King Nicolas Fouquet. After the French Revolution, it was ceded by Napoleon to ex-consul Pierre-Roger Ducos who demolished nearly two thirds of it.

From the 19th century until today, restoration work has been gradually returning the Royal Château of Amboise to its former glory. In summer, a breath-taking sound and light show called “The Prophecy of Amboise” brings the splendour and intrigues of life in the Court of Charles VIII back to life. Projections onto the facades of the château serve as a backdrop for the 250 performers and equestrian stuntmen who take part in this unique historical show. 
Not to be missed

An Early French Renaissance gem

During his stay in Naples, King Charles VIII was enraptured with the Renaissance works he saw. He was a pioneer, bringing the earliest influences from the Italian model to France and making his château a showcase of the Early French Renaissance.
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Hidden treasure

In the footsteps of Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci’s remains lie peacefully in the Saint-Hubert chapel, but his visionary spirit lives on in the château!
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Unusual

Behind the scenes of history

Lose yourself in underground passages, discover rooms that were previously closed to the public and explore the secrets of the royal lifestyle… the Royal Château of Amboise proposes a unique experience.
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News from the château
Practical information

CHATEAU ROYAL D'AMBOISE

Royal Château of Amboise
BP 371
37400, AMBOISE
France
Ouvert en ce moment
+ opening times
+ prices
From € 11.5 /  person
Démarche d'excellence grands sitesVignobles et DécouvertesLa Loire à VéloJardin remarquableQualité Tourisme"Accueil Vélo"
Things to see in the area
How to get there
The Royal Château of Amboise is 20 minutes on foot from the train station, which has connections to Tours lasting 30 minutes via a local train line. The Tours and Saint-Pierre-des-Corps train stations both have 1-hour connections to Paris-Montparnasse. The A10 and A85 motorways also provide access to the Château. Allow 2 hours by car from Paris. Tours airport has connections to Portugal, Ireland, Great Britain and Morocco.

Your journey

Visits around the Royal Château of Amboise