Archive for October 12th, 2019

October 12, 2019

Amboise, a king and a genius!

Ok on a nice afternoon let’s talk about one of my favorite castles again, this time is Amboise. Not only it is a great castle with wonderful views of the river Loire but it houses the Leonardo da Vinci house and museum of the great genius. I come here often as I get my delicious Touraine wines just across the river from Limeray.

You can get to Amboise from Paris by road on the A10 direction Bordeaux and get off at exit /sortie 18 road D31 that leds you right into the river Loire, here you can turn right before the river into the D952 to go cross at Amboise on the D431 or cross the river from the D31 and come alongside it on the D761 into the city. All is well paneled with signs so it’s very easy. You can do so by train station by Blvd. Gambetta./rue Charles Peguy and walk along rue Jules Ferry towards the river crossing it you are in Amboise and the castle upon you. You can ,also , arrive by bus from Tours. I come by car and parking is very convenient by the castle at rue Victor Hugo underground.

Amboise means Ambacia in old latin it means a city between two bodies of water such as the Loire and the Amasse rivers . However, it is in 1431 AD that the city was attached to the kingdom of France and became royal residence of king Charles VII .

There are many things to see here and nearby city but as usual I will give you my favorites and it is up to you to choose the ones you want to see when visiting the city. My favorites places are of course the Royal Castle, Castle of Clos-Lucé, parc Leonardo da Vinci, Beffroi or tour d’Horloge( belltower), the nearby Pagoda de Chanteloupe, Aquarium Val de Loire, and the park mini Chateaux.

The main is the Royal Chateau or castle, you first arrive at the Terrases from the 15-16C as it was the first castle to introduce the Italian renaissance style in France. Here in the terraces you see the Chapelle Saint Hubert, dedicated to the patrons saint of hunters built under king Louis XI and finished by king Charles VIII, it is the resting place of the genius Leonardo da Vinci from May 2,1519.  From the outside the castle is a prime example of the Renaissance of which king François I was the initiator. He was responsable for bringing Leonardo da Vinci over to his kingdom in 1516AD  when he was 64 yrs old.

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Now you are going inside the castle, you see the salle des gardes, where the kings guards were kept to control access to his bedroom. You go up unto the promenoir des gardes or the walkway of the guards where they can surveyed the Loire, passing into the salle des gardes nobles, where the nobles kept guard of the king and control the stairs leading to his rooms. Continue on to the salle des tambourineurs where the feast ,parties were held as to the wishes of the king. You reach the salle du conseil, the most important room of the castle where the king give his orders and received advised from his counselors, a notion of modern government.

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You go now into the salle de l’échanson, where you drank with the king, and eat; then la chambre Henri II, or bedroom; passing into the antichambre de la cordeliére where the entrance today has disappeared. Then you transposed into the appartements of Louis-Philippe of which he made several changes to the castle, king of the French from 1830. You see the cabinet Louis-Philippe where he did his studies and pass laws, to his bedroom or chambre style premier empire, and continue to the Salon de musique, with piano . You come back to the parks with the tour des Minimes with a great view of the river Loire ,and you exit the castle. Wonderful castle. The official webpage is at https://www.chateau-amboise.com/en/

Then, you come over the museum house of Leonardo da Vinci at Clos Lucé, its just a walk away about 500 meters away. the Chateau du Clos Lucé-Parc Leonardo da Vinci is  where he lived his last 3 years of his life and worked on his passions furiously, you can see  his bedroom, kitchen, work cabinet, and beautiful rooms in brick and stone as well as a chapel. You will discover in its park about 40 wonderful machine inventions that he created such as the first airplane, submarine, auto, helicopter, tank, parachutes, etc. All vividly display in the house and throughout the park. The visit starts at the gallery climbing the watchtower to remind you this is medieval architecture, and you will see the arms of France, go into the bedroom with a view of the castle, fireplace, aubusson tapestries, and a glass cabinet with many items of historical value such as the Christ in pearl and ivory said to belong to Mary Queen of Scots. Follow with his study room where his manuscripts were done from 1517AD with many wonderful displays of history ; the Ann of Brittany Oratory or chapel first built by king Charles VIII for his wife.The lounges from the 18C ,they were probably used by Leonardo da Vinci for his portraits of John the Baptist, it contains gorgeous furniture, at the end a small lounge with porcelain items, and continuing to the renaissance reception room where he welcome king François I and many others notables, all furnishing are from the renaissance period. You enter the kitchen with a monumental fireplace and furniture from the 16C.  Then you go down the stairs to Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions or machines all displayed using IBM technology now as models.

Amboise

You go outside to the park culturel with trails of exhibits in the open, machines hanging from trees as models of his inventions such as the moving bridge or pont mobile, the windmills or moulins, and the amphibious men or pont de briques. Lovely park indeed worth it a lot. You have a boutique store for souvenirs, and restaurants such as the La Terrace and the la Table du Moulin,and the resto du Prieuré, we try the Table du Moulin is great. The official webpage is at  http://www.vinci-closluce.com/en

The Beffroi or tour d’horloge is a wonderful building as you walk from the entrance to the castle down a pedestrian street and dates from the 15C. The Pagoda de Chanteloup on the road of or route de Bléré  is of style Louis XVI with a Chinese touch dates from 1775 and has a height of 44 meters ( 145 ft) offering a splendid view over the valley of the Loire river and the forests of Amboise.  The official webpage for the pagoda is here: https://www.pagode-chanteloup.com/?lang=en

Amboise

Then you have the mini chateaux park or sort of a miniature castles of the Loire park, it has 2 hectares or 5 acres showing 45 castles of the Loire. Located at La Menaudière on the road D81 very close to Amboise. Official webpage is at https://www.parcminichateaux.com/en

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Last but not least there is a nearby aquarium of Touraine or Val de Loire between Amboise and Tours and very near the mini chateaux park with good activities for the kids as we are based in Amboise. The official webpage is  https://decouvrez-levaldeloire.com/a-propos-du-grand-aquarium-touraine/

The castle of Chanteloup was an 18C castle located precisely in the heights of the city of Amboise, which was built on behalf of the princess of the Ursins, and was considerably embellished and expanded by the Duke of Choiseul, Louis XV’s minister Destroyed in 1823 , there remains in the domain of Chanteloup only the Chanteloup pagoda and its park, built by Louis-Denis Le Camus on behalf of the Duke of Choiseul in 1775, and open to the visit since the late 1990s by the André family. Webpage here: Pagode de Chanteloup

Very nice area indeed you should plan to be here. I have stayed at the Novotel Amboise  located on a hill overlooking the city below with resto and pool and free parking. It is part of ACCOR my favorite chain of hotels never disappointed anywhere,  webpage: https://www.accorhotels.com/gb/hotel-0395-novotel-amboise/index.shtml#origin=novotel

As far as restos, we have eaten at L’Amboiserie ,7 rue Victor Hugo (now call the La Terrace not try the new one yet)  between castle and da Vinci, great crêpes for the whole family: webpage https://www.amboise-valdeloire.com/restaurant/la-terrasse/

If not going straight into Amboise, Auberge de Launay when I am with my wine folks,  and has lodging too, ,hightly recommended if travel by car webpage: https://www.aubergedelaunayamboise.com/.  For a quick drink , snack in town head for the Cafe des Arts at 32, Rue Victor Hugo, webpage at  http://www.cafe-des-arts-amboise.fr/

I like to mention that just next to the castle you have one of the biggest regional marché or markets around, they are on Fridays, and Sundays mornings

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The official tourist office for the city area is here https://www.amboise-valdeloire.co.uk/   and the region of Touraine tourism webpage  https://www.touraineloirevalley.co.uk/

Hope you enjoy the visit to the wonderful Amboise, the town, the castle , the museum and the wines! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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October 12, 2019

Church of Saint Florentin at Amboise!

I like this town, Amboise, go there often get my wines, shop in the market and take a walk around its castle and clos lucé. However, I love the banks of the Loire and anything around it and here you have the wonderful Church of Saint Florentin, which is many times use for exhibitions only and not service. It is an impressive building especially at night. I like to tell you a bit more on it .

The Church of Saint-Florentin is a parish church in the city of Amboise in dept 37 of Indre-et-Loire, in the Centre-Val de Loire region, located in the old town and at the foot of the royal castle next to the Loire river

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The Church of Saint Florentin was built at the request of Louis XI so that the church of the castle ceases to be parish, for fear of diseases. Letters patent of June 7, 1473 granted for this part of the tax on salt for four years and the church is consecrated in 1484. There is little information, especially architectural  on the Church of Saint-Florentin of  Amboise.

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The bell tower’s roof was modified in a Renaissance style at the beginning of the 16C, after which important restoration work took place in 1876, replacing the wooden vault with stone. The bell was donated by the Duke of Choiseul. The stained glass windows were destroyed during WWII and replaced by original works by Max Ingrand, who also works at the Saint-Hubert chapel of the castle. Closed due to poor condition, it reopens in the mid-2000s.

The interior of the Church of Saint Florentin was largely transformed in 1876. The wooden vault gave way to a stone vault and the nave was enriched by two narrow aisles separated from the central vessel by fasciculate pillars, themselves same decorated with capitals floral theme. The windows, centered around the representations of the Virgin, were made in 1956. The church is also decorated with ten statues, typical of the Sulpician art of the 19C. The vertical parts of the choir were not reworked in 1876, they are from the late 15C. Today ,it serves as a place of exhibitions.

The city of Amboise webpage has a bit on the Church of Saint Florentin  as well as other things to see here:  https://www.ville-amboise.fr/88/monuments-a-visiter.htm

There you go another dandy in beautiful Amboise, plenty to see here see my other posts on it. Enjoy the Loire river and anything next to it, floating on it, or around it or above,remember the Loire.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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