Aquarium du Val de Loire
This is well signposted and advertised by the Tourisme de France. For the price, it was really not worth it. A small aquarium, some good exhibits but generally disappointing. If you read the tourist borchures you would expect more than it actually is. Overpriced canteen. You could not call it a restaurant.
Quaint Medieval Town
Amboise is a lovely medieval town along the Loire River. Of course the castle is the main draw, but if you walk around the town of Amboise you see varied and awesome views of the castle. These views I've only seen on postcards as our mini-van tour only stopped AT the castle. The city has grown throughout the 20th century with the installation of new companies and different urbanization projects. Today, the city has about 12,000 inhabitants
There is a guided walk in the city of Amboise with a famous character. You will experience the history of the place inspired by kings and artists such as Francois I or Leonardo da Vinci. You will be fascinated by the Renaissance period, its life and its architectural style. Visit the tourist office listed below to book your reservation.
Go Out to the Clos-Luce
Down the rue Victor-Hugo a little over 600m south of the chateau is the manor “Clos Luce”, which Francois I inherited. He installed the ageing Leonardo da Vinci here as a haven for his old age. Francois enjoyed frequent conversations with the Master, who with his assistants worked on various projects such as the double staircase at the Chambord (but no longer any paintings). He died after 4 years with Francois holding his hand.For his kindness Francois and the Louvre received the Mona Lisa and the Virgin of the Rocks. The mansion with some additions is now restored to that time and is also a museum housing over 40 models made by IBM from Leonardo’s papers and diagrams. These are devices that he imagined utilizing existing and non-exsting power sources. There are supportive materials too.
Pont Maréchal Leclerc
From north of the River Loire the main entry into Amboise is over the stone arch bridge, Pont Maréchal Leclerc.
It is named for Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque (1902-1947), a French Second World War general; in 1952 he was made Marshal of France posthumously.
Born Philippe François Marie, Comte de Hauteclocque, he changed his name in 1945 to use the alias he used while working for the French Resistance, Jacques-Philippe Leclerc. Today in France, he is known as Maréchal Leclerc.
General Leclerc, representing France, a member of the Allied Forces, signed the instrument of surrender aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan, when the Japanese agreed to unconditional surrender.
Leclerc came from a family of old-world, country nobility; his direct ancestors had served in the Fifth Crusade and in the Eighth Crusade of Saint King Louis IX in 1270. Family members continued to serve France’s military through Napoleon's Grande Armée; and into the First World War.
After the Fall of France he joined the Free French forces and went to London. Charles de Gaulle promoted him from Captain to Major. He was sent to French Equatorial Africa as Governor of French Cameroon from late August 1940 to mid-November 1940. He distinguished himself in other African campaigns of the War. From the D-Day landings Leclerc’s Second Armored Division freed Paris. After the war he served in Indochina.
The area around Pont Maréchal Leclerc along the River Loire is positively lovely. There are two small islands (see photos 3, 4 & 5) within the river, overgrown and charming. Walk along the riverbank; relax; have a picnic. The area is easily accessible and parking in some lots nearby is free.
Amboise: A Civilized Place
“You may go to Amboise either from Blois or from Tours; it is about half-way between these towns.
The great point is to go.” — from “A Little Tour In France” 1884 by Henry James
What was true in 1884 is true today, when visiting the Loire Valley, make a point to go to Amboise.
It is a sweet town of roughly 11,500 souls on the left bank of the River Loire. If you are a fan of history and architecture you will enjoy a visit here. Much took place in this market town that shaped the history of France, with ramifications for Western civilization.
There is free parking near the tourist information center by the river, just to the west of the bridge. Leave your car there and wander the streets. Visit the château, with its grand view of the river, and further in town, visit the manor house, Clos-Lucé, which was the last home of the Renaissance genius, Leonardo da Vinci.
The River Loire is lovely at this point, especially toward sunset. There is an island in the river near the bridge; locals fish from the riverbank or from boats.
It is a very relaxing town, with a civilized pace about it. Enjoy!
The rock promontory upon which Château d’Amboise is built has been part of a defensive position of this area of the River Loire since the Gallo-Roman period. Once on the château's ground it is easy to see the advantage from this position.
Although proudly lit at night, the castle seems to hold secrets in the dark.