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|The Royal Château of Amboise, today the property of the Saint Louis Foundation presided over by His Grace the Count of Paris, relates two thousand years of history. During the dark centuries from ancient times to Middle Ages, wooden and stone fortifications flanked the rock spur of Amboise between the Loire on the northern slope and the Amasse river to the South. Victim of successive attacks by the Dukes of Anjou and the Counts of Blois, it was besieged by Philippe-Auguste in 1234. The château was entrusted to a vassal of the king: the House of Chaumont-Amboise. In 1431, Louis d'Amboise was condemned to death for having plotted against La Trémouille, the favourite of Charles VII. The traitor was pardoned and his château restored to the Crown. Valois and Bourbons honoured Amboise with their presence until the Revolution. Louise-Marie-Adelaide de Bourbon-Penthièvre passed on the prestigious residence to her son Louis-Philippe in 1821, the château henceforth remaining the legacy of the House of France.|
|The refuge of Charles VII at Bourges marked the beginning of the installation of the kings in the Loire Valley. The court was set up at Loches and Chinon while fortified Amboise (15th century watch-tower) housed the "Francs-Archers". Between façade and watch-tower stands the residence of the Queen and the Dauphin Louis XI, who was born in Amboise in 1470. Access is via the approach ramp and drawbridge. The chapel, set astride the surrounding wall, also served as oratory. On 1st August 1469, the king instituted the Order of Saint-Michel in the collegiate church of Saint-Florentin (destroyed in the 19th century), located in the park of the château. In 1492 the king Charles VIII levied a tax to finance the construction of two ranges of buildings and a walkway...In 1496, on his return from the Italian campaign, work was well in hand on a number of projects, including the round, "Tour des Cavaliers" or horsemen's tower, and the king's apartments. The Italian style took hold: the château was opened out to the East onto a garden designed by Pacello da Mercogliano.|
|King Louis XII resided in his fief of Blois, while his young cousin and heir, François d'Angoulême was brought up and educated in Amboise. He resided with his mother Louise de Savoie in the new wing built at right angles. Heir apparent to the throne, the carefree childhood years of François I were followed by victory at Marignan and a bevy of Court favourites (François de Châteaubriand). The fascination for the Renaissance, with its classical influence and humanist ideals, brought with it a radically different style in decoration and architecture: the East façade of the perpendicular wing was enhanced by pilasters, string-courses, cornices and scallop mouldings between the dormers, influenced by the designs of Italian architects. Invited to Amboise in 1516 by François I, where he was lodged in Le Clos Lucé and granted a pension, Leonardo da Vinci perpetuated the mystique and organised the royal festivities. He died on 2 May 1519 after having expressed the desire to be buried in the collegiate church of the Château d'Amboise.|
|Henry II in line with fashionable Italian design, doubled the
building on the eastern side, with its antechamber - bedchamber - privy and
wardrobe. The château was at that time five times bigger than it is today.
Catherine de Médicis made her joyous entry into numerous
royal cities, hoping for a reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants.
During the religious turmoil, Amboise kept a strategic silence.
The wrought iron balcony of the château bears witness to the Amboise
Conspiracy of 1560, an ill-fated Huguenot plot against François II. Visitors are
shown where the corpses of 1200 conspirators were hung from iron hooks on the
façade of the château.
The Tour des Minimes, the château's original entrance, is famous for its huge spiral ramp up which horsemen could ride to deliver provision.
|Open daily all year round except 25 December and 1 January, varying closing times. Tel.: 33+ (0)2 47 57 00 98|
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