Amboise (February 2018)

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Amboise is most famous for its royal chateau built on an outcrop dominating the Loire river and the Clos Luce, a manor house inhabited by Leonardo da Vinci (invited by Francois I) from 1516 until his death in 1519. The chateau hosted the French royal court during parts of the 15th and 16th centuries (roughly from Louis XI to Francois I). The extension of the existing chateau launched by King Charles VIII (son of Louis XI) in 1492 was the earliest architectural project of the Renaissance in the Loire valley. However, Amboise has been occupied since the Neolithic period. Long before the royal chateau existed, fortifications had already been erected on the same outcrop.

 

Old traditional timber-framed house in Amboise in a street just beneath the chateau.

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Aerial view of the Amboise chateau.

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Walls surrounding the chateau. The small chapel visible on the second and third photos below is the chapel Saint-Hubert, the resting place of Leonardo da Vinci. The large round tower on the right-hand side of each of these two photos is a ″horsemen tower″, which contains a gently slopped helical ramp making it possible to ride a horse up to the chateau.

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From left to right: helical ramp in the tower visible in the previous two photos, helical ramp in a second tower located on the other side of the outcrop (closer to the Loire river), top of this second tower with its well-preserved gargoyles.

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Chateau with three gothic-style skylights on the left (gothic wing) and four renaissance-style skylights on the right (renaissamce wing).

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Other side of the renaissance wing.

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Left: council chamber (situated in the gothic wing of the chateau) decorated with the arms of France and Brittany, with the king′s throne against the wall on the right. Right: Aubusson tapestry (17th century).

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Gate of the Lions and the remains of an old wall.

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Left and center: facade of the chapel Saint-Hubert. Right: tomb of Leonardo da Vinci.

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Clos Luce.

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Workshop of Leonardo da Vinci, where he worked on the Mona Lisa painting.

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Bedroom of Leonardo da Vinci, where he died on May 2nd, 1519, age 67.

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Bedroom of Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549), older sister of Francois I, and one of the stained glass windows of the room. Note the cat on the bed!

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Kitchen of Clos Luce.

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