City files: Amboise at Loire Valley

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Summer is the best time of the year to visit the Loire Valley; summer skies tend to be vibrantly blue, the green of the forests is rich and bright and the weather is pleasant and sunny. Right in the middle of the distance between Angers and Sully-sur-Loire (the two cities marking the unofficial start and end of the Loire Valley) you can find the charming, medieval city of Amboise! A city with rich history and beautiful scenic architecture which you can use as your base to explore the area.
 
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Amboise - Tourism Media © 2016 Expedia, Inc
 
Located in: Central France. 27 km east of Tours. You can reach Amboise via train from Paris (1 hour 15 min by TGV)
 
Population: 13.000 (approx.)
 
Nearest airport: Tours Val de Loire Airport, Tours
 
City is known for: The place of the royal residence of King Francis I (1494-1547). Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) spent his last years and was buried here.
 
Most important sights:
 
Château d'Amboise. Once an impressive private house, the Château became a royal residence in 1431, when it was confiscated by Charles VII following the conviction of its owner for plotting against the king. The mansion was innovated by Italian mason-builders; incorporating some of the first Renaissance decorative motifs in France. Leonardo da Vinci was invited to live and work here (in 1525) and Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots) was raised in the Château as the future wife of the unfortunate Francis II (who died one year after his ascension to the throne). You can visit the Château all year round (for 11,50 €) and wander in the majestic rooms of the Valois Kings. Don’t miss the tour to the underground passages!
 
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General view of Château d'Amboise / Vue générale du Château d'Amboise © L. de Serres
 
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Tour des Minimes . Château d'Amboise © L. de Serres
 
The chapel of Saint-Hubert. A part of the Château, the chapel is the burial place of Leonardo da Vinci. The Italian master was originally buried in the church of St. Florentin but the church was demolished during the French Revolution. The bones of Leonardo were discovered in 1863 and re-interred at this beautiful Gothic Chapel.
 
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Amboise - The chapel of Saint-Hubert - Tourism Media © 2016 Expedia, Inc
 
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Tomb of Leonardo da Vinci / Tombe Leonardo da Vinci © Leonard de Serres
 
Château du Clos Lucé. The residence of Leonardo da Vinci during his stay in Amboise is now a museum that exhibits forty models of the machines designed by the master as well as copies of the Mona Lisa and St. John the Baptist. Visit the rooms of the château and imagine Leonardo living and working there! (Admission: 11,50 €)
 
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© Château du Clos Lucé
 
Amboise centre. The medieval architecture of the city-centre, with the narrow streets and the small shops is charming and pleasant. Search for the picturesque clock tower (Tour De L'horloge) at Rue Nationale and don’t miss the fountain designed by Max Ernst, on quai de Gaulle, with the modernistic sculptures of tortoises, installed in 1968.
 
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Amboise - Tourism Media © 2016 Expedia, Inc
 
Mini Châteaux. If you lack the time and stamina to visit all 40-or-so of the Loire Valley castles, you can “minimize” the experience by visiting this amazing theme park to see the most chateaux of the Loire identically reproduced to a 1:25 scale. You can even ride a mini Bugatti and drive through the miniatures! (Tickets: Children from 10.50 €, Adults from 14.00 €)
 
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Photo: © Mini Châteaux
 
Château de Chenonceau (20 min. drive from Amboise). Not only one of the most famous castles of the Loire Valley but, in my opinion, the most beautiful! The building spreads its majestic arches over Cher River creating one of the most stunning and photogenic sceneries in the whole country. Visit the Château’s interior and gardens and you should grab the opportunity to enjoy the pic nic areas. A big plus: Dogs (on leash) are welcomed to the gardens! (Admission: 13,00 €)
 
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Photo: Marc Jauneaud © Château de Chenonceau
 
Combine Amboise with: Tours, Fontevraud Abbey (to the west), Blois, Château de Chambord (to the east) and most of the castles of Loire Valley!
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