Beginning with François I’s reign, while the court generally stayed at Fontainebleau and the Louvre, the sovereign still appreciated Amboise, up to Henri II. The monarch’s stays were more rare from Henri III’s reign. The Court left the Touraine region definitively for Ile-de-France under Henri IV. From that time onwards, the Château d’Amboise was only a simple staging post for the Bourbon Kings. The residence welcomed Louis XIII and Louis XIV several times. His grandson, Philippe, Duke of Anjou, also stayed here on the way to Spain from the II to 13 December 1700 before acceding to the throne of Spain under the name of Philippe V .
Nicolas Fouquet , the disgraced former superintendent of finance, was the involuntary guest of the Château of Amboise. After giving a sumptuous feast in honour of the King of France in his château of Vaux-Ie-Vicomte, he was arrested on 5 September 1661 at Nantes by the captain of the musketeers, the famous d’Artagnan. On his way to the Fort of Pignerol (in the Savoy Alps) where he died on 23 March 1680, he was interned at Amboise from 4 to 16 December 1661. Tradition holds that he was put in the cell situated “above the entrance door of the château”. His passage to Amboise became the subject of a pilgrimmage for Jean de La Fontaine, his friend, who came to the château in August 1663.
After ascending the double ramp taken in former times by the footsoldiers, the visitor reaches the château terraces, opposite St Hubert’s Chapel. One can enjoy a panoramic view of the Loire Valley, the 15th and 16th century buildings, the gardens planted with Mediterranean species and the two impressive ‘horsemen’s towers
However, the current building is only one-fifth of the “palace” constructed by Charles VIII. This palace underwent periods of abandon and neglect, and several phases of organised demolition.
Life at the royal château royal is not just its historical past. The monument is constantly undergoing changes, fed by the passions of people in charge of its upkeep and of those who welcome visitors from the world over.
Take a walk in the city, enjoy a drink in one of the cafes, but please finish the visit of Amboise by going to the “Clos Luce”, the final residence of Leonardo da Vinci. See previous post…
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