Amboise: Two French Chateaux, One Secret Tunnel


Two weeks into my stay at Le Mans and we were taken on a day trip to Amboise to see two of the different beautiful chateaux in the Loire Valley.

Chateau de Clos Lucé

First off, we drove an hour and a half to Chateau de Clos Lucé, a small castle that was home to Leonardo Da Vinci between 1516 and 1519, where he lived at the time of his death. The exterior of the castle looks relatively modern considering its history dates back to the middle ages, made of red brick and freestone statues. Upstairs the rooms have been preserved from when Da Vinci lived and died there and you can even see the room where he passed away, wooden beams, stone walls and velvet bedding intact. Downstairs you can explore Da Vinci’s many inventions, including models of his infamous flying machine.

The gardens are large and spacious; leaves flow from willow trees like waterfalls, large canvases of Da Vinci’s art hide amongst the them and in the centre of it all is a placid green lake that you can take a paddleboat out on for only a few euros.

Amboise, France, europe

Da Vinci and Francis I

Francis I was the king of France between 1515 – 1547 during which time the French Renaissance was in full motion. The king became one of the first patrons of the arts, being extremely enthusiastic about art and sciences. He became a patron to Da Vinci, giving him asylum after his exile from Italy and offering him the Chateau de Clos Lucé for his enjoyment.

It was Francis I that allowed Da Vinci the freedom and money to pursue his scientific and artistic exploits, even commissioning the most famous painting in the world, The Mona Lisa. During the period of Da Vinci’s stay at Clos Lucé, a secret tunnel was created between there and the King’s dwelling, Chateau d’Amboise, where we visited next on our beauty-filled day trip. This secret tunnel allowed Da Vinci and the Francis I to meet on their own terms.

Chateau d’Amboise

Our next stop was Chateau d’Amboise, a five minute drive away. We parked right next to the river Loire and walked along its banks towards the centre of town. Within minutes I was transfixed by this town, everywhere you looked you could see flowers, flowers, flowers- every colour under the sun. My camera and I had an absolute field day; as the group veered off into the city square I ran across the main road to take pictures of this adorable flower-woven metal structure, under which sat a little wooden bench. The perfect place to sit and watch the boats sail by on the river.

The town was adorable at that hour, the lowering sun made the white stone buildings gold-washed. French shutters, and rustic lanterns lined the streets that were full of open-air cafés and restaurants. We ate at a small outdoor restaurant where we had a meal of a savoury galette, sweet crêpe and a glass of cider for under 10 euros. The cider was absolutely divine and we ordered a bottle of it after being enticed by the taster. Amboise, France, europeAmboise, France, europe

La Prophétie d’Amboise

When the sun went down, we went into the Chateau d’Amboise to see the multimedia outdoor show centred around the history of French royalty during the 16th century. The show includes projection mapping onto the walls of the castle, much like the Nuit des Chimères in Le Mans. The show follows the story of Francis I, the prophecy leading up to his reign, his friendship and patronage with Leonard Da Vinci and finally the war that ensued during his time on the throne. Although the show was performed completely in French I was really proud that I could understand the plot and everything going on… I’m so excited to get better and better at my language skills!

Amboise, France, europe

Amboise, France, europe

On the way back to the coach, I again had to leave the group to sprint to the river bank and take pictures of this beautiful sunset glowing over the horizon- the perfect goodbye to a perfect day in Amboise visiting its beautiful chateaux and exploring its rich history.

Much love <3

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Viivi Severina
    August 3, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    Really beautiful photos! Specially that one with the flowers in the walls. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 3, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    I’m happy that you enjoyed your chateaux visits!! I’m living in the Medoc this summer, actually along “the route of the chateaux” and I can see 4 out of my bedroom windows!!! I love Chateaux and visiting them! I really love reading all about your times in France on your blog! I equally love blogging about France myself!

    • Reply
      August 3, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      Wow that’s amazing you’re super lucky! Thank you 🙂

      • Reply
        August 3, 2016 at 6:05 pm

        None of the ones around me have been lit up so pretty at night time yet- so you’re lucky!!!(:

  • Reply
    August 3, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    That building looks incredible all lit up! X

  • Reply
    An Outcast Wayfarer
    August 3, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    These pictures are beyond beautiful!!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    J’aime les photos

  • Reply
    August 14, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Hi! I hope you’ll be pleased to know that I have nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award: 🙂

  • Reply
    August 15, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    I really, really want to go to Chateau de Clos Lucé, the history with Da Vinci sounds so interesting. I didn’t know there was a secret tunnel! I’m going to be in France in October so I hope I can go visit!

  • Reply
    August 18, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Looks like a must see places! Thanks for sharing, definitely I will read more about them!
    Greetings from Bulgaria,

  • Reply
    August 26, 2016 at 10:06 am

    beautiful photos!

  • Reply
    October 1, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Beautiful photos! So happy to have stumbled upon your blog! Looking forward to following along your adventures!

  • Reply
    - Le Mans Ultimate Guide: One of France's Secret Towns
    October 19, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    […] and beautiful town and I enjoyed every day that I was there! Read my next post to hear about my day-trips to two different beautiful châteaux, one of which was the home to Da Vinci in the last years of his […]

  • Leave a Reply

    Get all the latest expert travel tips and destination guides...
    We respect your privacy.