Monday, November 28, 2016

A Walk with Leonardo Da Vinci: 1 day in Amboise, France

       If the Loire Valley is an open book, I was lucky enough to flip through 2 pages by visiting Amboise and Chenonceaux
       Once home to the French royal court, now a vibrant market town, Amboise is a charming town in central France with the most Italian flair going on. 
Loire Valley

       Now, it is the best time to visit Amboise of the Loire Valley, and here is why: 2016 marks the 500th year since the world-renowned Renaissance genius, Leonardo Da Vinci was invited to stay in Amboise by the French King, Francois I. Hence, to celebrate this significant historical event, the city of Amboise is going to organize various events from 2016 until 2019, dedicating them to Da Vinci. 

To reach Amboise, we took the SNCF rail from Tours to reach Amboise station. Note that TVG station is 20km from the chateau, hence if you come by high-speed train, you will have to change to SNCF. 

1st stop: Amboise Chateau Royal 

Amboise Royal Chateau, Loire Valley chateau

       There is a 10 minutes walk from the train station to the Chateau. Standing on the bridge constructed over the idling Loire River, we took a few minutes to marvel at the view of the Royal Chateau built on a spur above the town and also its reflection on the water. Being the first Italianate chateau in France, the chateau itself is a gem worth spending the whole day to study the history and discover the detailed behind-the-scenes moments of the Royal court's daily life. But if you are not into French history, head straight up to the castle rampart to enjoy the remarkable panoramic view of the Loire valley. 

       Besides, the great Renaissance man, Leonardo Da Vinci was buried within the ground of the Chateau. Following his death in Close Lúce on the 2nd of May 1519, the French King buried him in the collegiate church of Saint-Florentin according to his will. However, Da Vinci’s body disappeared after the collegiate church of St. Florentin was pulled down in the early 19th century. It was then rediscovered in 1863 and today, people stop at Saint-Hubert chapel at the chateau, the final resting place of Leonardo Da Vinci, to pay their respect. 
Leonardo da Vinci Chapel

Read more: 11 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Royal Château of Amboise, Loire Valley

2nd Stop: Chateau du Clos Lúce

       From the Royal Chateau of Amboise, walk up the hill along Rue Victor Hugo and you'll reach Chateau du Clos Lúce in no time. The thing I love the most about this short walk was the old timbered houses lining the narrow street, and the fact that we met a French soldier who graciously let us climb into his vehicle for a photo. 
timber house, france
rue victor hugo

    “Here Leonardo, you will be free to dream, to think and to work.”
       The king of Loire Valley had been looking up to Italy for it’s Renaissance ideas. To further incorporate renaissance into French life, inviting the Italian renaissance man seemed to be the best idea, and King François I did just that. 
Clos Luce, Leonardo da Vinci house

       When Da Vinci arrived at Amboise at age 64, he moved into Manor du Cloux, a pink house elegantly erected in bricks and tuffeau stones, 500 meters from the Royal Chateau of Amboise (some say the two was connected by a secret underground tunnel), where he spent the last 3 years of his life inventing cool stuff for the royal family

        Come here to step into the great mind of the genius man, met the man himself in the recently unveiled workshops, and test out many interactive life-scale machines in the Garden of Leonardo da Vinci. 
Leonardo da Vinci Garden

3rd Stop: The Market Town 

After checking out 2 main tourist attractions of the town, don't miss walking through the narrow streets of Amboise, looking at old timbered houses.
timber house, France

       The town has so much more to offer. Unlike the chateau, the town of Amboise still retains its medieval feel. We spent some time exploring the happening avenue where the clock tower dominates. To end our day, we had a wonderful meal at Patisserie Bigot. It is conveniently located at the foot of the Royal Chateau, serving delicious pastries, ice cream, and savory dishes since 1913.  
French pastries
French ice cream

4th Stop: The Royal River

Now before you jump on the train back to Paris, take some time out to appreciate the beauty of the Loire River. Simply, stop and stare.... close your eyes and feel the tender breeze, listening to the flow of the royal river..... open your eyes..... and take hundreds of photographs
Loire River
River of Loire
Royal River, Loire Valley
chateau amboise at Loire River

Going to France? 

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Thank You for Reading! 
Miss Happy Feet was a guest of Loire Valley and Touraine Tourism Board. However, all photos and opinion are as always, my own. 
Are you inspired to visit Amboise? Feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!

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