Etap Hotel Amboise
1, rue du Clos Bourget, Amboise, 37400, France
More about Amboise
Walk along the Loire river by the parking lot
Entrance to the Aquarium
Château du Clos-Lucé, Da Vinci’s Bedroom, 07/08
Château du Clos-Lucé, Da Vinci’s Machines, 07/08
Travel Tips for Amboise
Amboise and It's Chateau
Amboise is a charming castle village, just east of the city of Tours and 1 1/2 hours south of Paris by the TGV. Beautifully situated along the Loire River, this region is famous for its elegant chateaux and castles built by French kings. It is called "The Land of 1,000 Chateaux!"
The Chateau of Amboise, one of the first truly " royal " residences of its kind, was built during the 15th and the 16th centuries on the orders of Charles VIII, Louis XII and Francois I. Amboise played a significant part in the terrible religious wars that tore France apart in the 16th century. It was the site of the massacre of several hundred Hugenots who were on their way to capture the king. Legend has it that Catherine de Médici and her court dined and watched the slaughter. It was the presence of Leonardo da Vinci that made the most impact of my visit to Amboise. During the three years Leonardo spent in France his influence touched many if not all or the renaissance chateaux of the Loire Valley. King Francis I invited Leonardo da Vinci to spend the last years of life in Amboise which was then the seat of the court of France. In autumn 1516 Leonardo arrived in Amboise. With him, was the famous painting Mona Lisa. Leonardo lived in Amboise in the small castle Cloux which is now called Le Clos Luce for the last three years of his life.
See the Salle des Etats & the Tower Carriage Ramp
On the first (main) floor after entering the castle one encounters the gracefully vaulted hall of the Estates General. On the floor above is the bedroom of Henri II (the last to use it in the 16C), with a fine fireplace.More interesting is the broad ramp that scends the Tour des Minimes which is wide enough to accomodate a horse and carriage or more frequently carts to provision the chateau.
Chateau d’Amboise: La Chapelle de St-Hubert Part I
“A well-filled day gives a good sleep. A well-filled life gives a peaceful death.”
— Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
In 1516, François I invited Leonardo to his court at Amboise. The genius of the Renaissance lived and worked nearby at the manor house Clos-Lucé. When da Vinci died, according to his wishes, he was buried in the Church of St. Florentin on the grounds of Château d’Amboise.
Following the church’s demolition in the mid-1800s, workers found a complete male skeleton along with pieces of stone chiseled with da Vinci’s name. The artist’s remains were moved to a tomb in the nearby Chapelle de St-Hubert, a 1491 Flamboyant Gothic gem (see photo #1). Today, on the left-hand side when entering the chapel there is a marble tablet marked by a bronze profile medallion and bronze letters spelling out da Vinci’s name. This is his grave; the great Italian master rests here in style!
I love this chapel! Perched above the town of Amboise (see photo #2), within the grounds of Chateau d’Amboise, this adorable, little chapel’s lace-like detail makes it a certain standout. Charles VIII built the royal chapel for his wife Anne de Bretagne. The king and queen can be seen in adoration of the Virgin and Child carved over the Gothic arch above the entry door (see photo #3).
Saint Hubert was born between AD 656 and 658, most likely in Toulouse. He was heir apparent to the Duke of Aquitaine. Hubert was a young man of leisure, who took great pleasure in hunting. A rendering of St. Hubert’s conversion to Christianity is carved in the lintel above the chapel’s door (see photo #4). It shows Our Saint at the moment when he saw a crucifix between the antlers of a stag, which turned him from a life of idyll hunting to one of religious contemplation. Our Saint’s model of behavior had little influence over the French kings, who where attracted to Amboise for its hunting. St. Hubert is the patron saint of hunters; antlers can be seen projecting from the chapel’s steeple (see photo #5).
To see a photo of da Vinci’s grave marker and other photos and more information, please see part 2.
CHATEAU DU CLOS-LUCE
Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life at the castle of Clos-Luce. He died on May 2, 1519. Now it is a museum to Leonardo and his work, with some forty models of his inventions, constructed according to his detailed plans.
Château du Clos-Lucé: The View
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
— Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
From the window of his bedroom at Clos-Lucé, de Vinci could see la Chapelle de St-Hubert and the royal castle. La Chapelle de St-Hubert is da Vinici's final resting place; but it was not where his 1518 will stipulated that he be laid to rest. That was the Royal Church of St. Florentin on the grounds of Château d’Amboise (see von.otter’s Amboise Things To Do: Chateau d’Amboise: La Chapelle de St-Hubert Part I + II for more details).
Da Vinci sketched this scene. A reproduction of this sketch stands outside at the back of Clos-Lucé, showing what Château d’Amboise looked like in the early 1500s, when today’s town was not obscuring most of it. Today the sketch is in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. The original is on view every day from da Vinci’s bedroom window.
Clos-Lucé is a 20-minute walk from Château d’Amboise, 547 yards away.
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