Don’t Skip Amboise Until You Read This!
So you are planning a trip to the breathtaking Loire Valley, and you have decided not to visit Amboise. With so many towns and chateaux to visit, and things to do, you need to make some tough choices. Nobody can squeeze it all in.
Amboise has a lot going for it though, and needs to be seriously considered, not just for a visit, but to be considered as your home base for a part of the time you are in the Loire Valley.
The Loire Valley covers a lot of territory and to best appreciate it, we suggest that you split up your time. Tours is a centrally located town that people often use a their hub. But, aside from the rather small, but charming, old town, the rest of the town is pretty industrial, and traffic in, out, and through is quite congested.
We suggest visiting Amboise, and using it as your base for touring the chateaux to the northwest of Tours. Here you will easily be able to take in such great chateau as Amboise, Blois, Chambord, Cheverny, Chenonceau, and Le Clos Lucé. As well as several other lesser known chateaux.
After a few nights stay in Amboise, you can then move to the southwest of Tours to visit the chateaux of this part of the Loire. We chose to stay in Chinon which gave us great access to Azay-le-Rideau, Chateau Chinon, Langeais, Villandry, and others.
Amboise boasts, not one, but, two remarkable chateaux. Not often a town can claim that! And, the experiences are distinctly unique.
Chateau d’Amboise is positioned in on a ridge overlooking the beautiful Loire River. But, I think the decision to build the chateau here had less to do with beauty and more to do the ability to see approaching enemies.
The chateau is still owned by descendants of King Louis Philippe to this day. you can visit the castle and gardens year round.
The second chateau, Le Clos Lucé, is a whole other fascinating place completely. This is where Leonardo da Vinci spent his last years, and the castle and grounds are devoted to remembering him, his art, and his inventions. This should not be missed.
The town of Amboise is quite small with charming central area. While not a spectacular experience, it is friendly and inviting. And, as we said earlier, a great place to use as a home-base.
Places to Stay in Amboise
While in Amboise, we stayed at Logis La Breche, a small 14 room hotel across the bridge, just a stone’s throw from the town center and Chateau d’Amboise. I would call this a “budget” hotel as a double now will run you €72 a night (As of this update, 4-3-2015, that’s less than $80!)
This is what I would describe as a traditional French hotel. If you must have modern cookie cutter type hotels, then Logis La Breche may not be for you. The hotel has been updated and is very clean and full of french character, quirkiness, and charm. And, the restaurant in the hotel serves up some really tasty cuisine. We loved our stay here.
26, rue Jules Ferry 37400 Amboise
+33 (0) 2 47 57 00 79
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